We have an amazing band director. We hear a lot, “He’s doing an awesome job with those kids.” But I personally think that sometimes we don’t realize how lucky we are to have Adam Steuart working with our kids. He doesn’t fit the mold of your every day bad director. It’s funny that I’m fixing to use this next phrase, because he’s a huge Star Trek fan. He’s wanting, ready and willing to take these kids where “no band has gone before.” He has a passion for making these kids into the best marching band that they can be, and nothing but being superior will do. Not for him…..for THEM. And he will use any tool that he can to drive them to excellence.
This year’s boot…I mean Band Camp has been AMAZING!! We have been very blessed to have some incredible people come and instruct our students in marching fundamentals, musical technique, and drum line fundamentals and cadences. When I was getting pictures and video while these men and women were teaching, I was just in awe. They are truly artists at their crafts and it has been an honor for them to come and work this week. I know this feeling is echoed by the band.
Working with the kids this year were:
- Fairview, OK band director Adrian Gomez, who was also a trumpet specialist for Crossman drum and bugle corps and was part of Phantom regiment drum and bugle corps
- Sarah Gomez, wife of Adrian, who is a woodwind and color guard specialist
- Super amazing drum line instructor, Patrick McClung
- Richard Stalcup, Assistant director for the Chisholm Stampede and trombone specialist
- Color Guard instructor that goes above and beyond for her group of girls, Nicole Steuart
One of the biggest parts of camp is marching fundamentals. Mr. Gomez really helped our kids improve their marching techniques, their horn carriage, and their postures while on the field. While in the band room during the extremely hot part of the day, he helped them hone in on their playing techniques and their musical precision. When the kids broke into sectionals, Mr. Gomez and Mr. Stalcup both worked with the trumpets and low brass, Patrick worked with the drum line, Mrs Gomez worked with the woodwinds and Nicole the color guard. It was during these times that each section got some wonderful one on one with people at the top of the game. It wasn’t just about working on the marching music. It was about breathing technique, musical precision and fundamentals, about how to properly hold and play the drum sticks or mallets.
I want to stop right here and talk about the drum line for just a minute. This line has gone through a huge change from last year to this year. Last year’s snare drummer is now drum major. One of the bass drummers from last year is now on snare. We have 2 brand new bass drummers, and one of them played flute last year. We also have 2 new cymbal players. Patrick started working with them last Friday. These kids have had 1 day off this week and have put in some major work and are doing an incredible job. This is a direct reflection on the man working with them. He drives them, encourages them, refuses to let them give up or give less than what he knows they are able to give, and then he pushes them to give more. Not only has he worked with our drum line, he also worked with the Chisholm drum line as well. I am so excited for everyone to hear this new drum line ROCK the stands this year. I know they are going to make their coach very, VERY proud.
Our color guard line has 3 new members as well, and they too have been putting in a lot of hard work as they started last Friday. Just as all the other instructors are amazing at what they do, Nicole is no exception. She will not settle for less than awesome with these girls and pushes them just as the band is being pushed. If you have never been a member of color guard, let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks. The angles of the flags as you are doing ANY move has to be precise, or everyone knows you’re off. It’s not just teaching choreography to the girls and being done. It’s a constant, ongoing work to make sure they hit every time, because if one person is a fraction off, the world knows. Nicole amazes me, because she is gentle when she needs to be and firm when time calls for it, and she knows which she needs to be to get the results.
So, this brings me back to Mr. Steuart. The past 2 years were awesome, they were fun and they have given a foundation for this band to grow. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that this year’s theme is “Super Heroes”. This year’s band has a different feel, a different tone and is pushing boundaries they have never tried to cross before. This is because of Mr. Steuart and his dedication, his drive, his passion for not just band, but for turning the students into the best marching musicians this state has to offer. He’s not willing to stay in the box and just settle for what they think is their best. He has a vision for this band program that extends beyond what any of us were thinking, and I for one am excited and SO ON BOARD with his vision. I keep thinking of the movie “Drum Line”. I see our kids at that level under his direction. I see this program growing each year under his leadership. I see The Pride of Hennessey becoming one of the biggest band names in the state of Oklahoma because of his not willing to compromise, sacrifice or become stagnant by staying in the box. And you know where it starts???