By LARRY GAGE
Special to the PRESS
The Port Isabel High Silver Tarpon Marching Band has been hard at it since July and the time has come for this instrumental aggregation to strut their stuff in front of the judges.
The band will perform in its first contest this Saturday. Actually, the band will be competing in two contests on Saturday. Early in the morning band members and directors will bus over to Donna for the Donna Marching Festival. Then all will re-board the buses and get over to San Benito for the San Benito Marching Festival.
“We’ll perform around 10 (a.m.) at Donna,” head director of bands Scott Hartsfield said recently. “Then at San Benito we’ll go on around 3.” The Donna contest will take place at Bennie LaPrade Stadium and Bobby Morrow Stadium will be the site of the San Benito contest.
The first scheduled contest of the season was held last Saturday at Rio Hondo and the Silver Tarpon Band was scheduled to participate, but had to bow out. The new color guard uniforms had not arrived and a major breakdown of a key piece of instrumentation occurred.
“Early in the week the synthesizer stopped working,” Hartsfield told the Press. “(It was ) one of the main boards and it’s a big, important spot in the show. We had our repair guy look at it and he said he couldn’t figure out what was going on. So we sent it off to San Antonio to a Rowan (manufacturer) and they said, ‘Your board is fried.’” The cause, Hartsfield said, was probably the humidity.
This particular synthesizer is six or seven years old and the cost of fixing it is over $1,000. “The guy told me that everything on the inside is going to be new, so you’re getting a brand new synthesizer for $1,300. We’re just keeping the shell and it may last another six years. We’re hoping to have it back Wednesday or Thursday (this week).” The cost of a new synthesizer is $2,800.
So, is the show ready to go, Mr. Hartsfield? “We put on the last three or four sets earlier this week. I know it’s been a long week for the kids because they’re all trying to pass their classes. They’ve been under a lot of stress.”
The whole show, then, will be on the field for a football game for the first time this week. Because it’s Homecoming, though, the show will be performed before the game. The Homecoming king and queen will be crowned at halftime.
Your instrumental music reporter stopped in at the band hall after last Friday’s volleyball match and found Hartsfield standing by while two people were banging away on the snare drums. It turned out to be a tuning session and a specialist was brought in to take care of it.
The snare drum tuner was Gilbert Garcia, who’s the snare drum teacher at Valley View High School.
“We’ve judged together so I know him really well, and he has a lot of respect for what we do here, Hartsfield said. “His snare drum line just won Best Snare Drum Line in the Rio Grande Valley, beating the Hannahs and all these big schools. And his snares just sound really good. So I told him, ‘Come over here and tune my snares and I’ll treat you to dinner’.” Garcia was assisted by his son, who plays snare in the Valley View marching band.
The Silver Tarpon Band drumline will be going with three snares, two tenors, and four bass drums. When asked if he has confidence in this group, Hartsfield answered, “I do. I believe they’re going to do quite well.”
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