ILHS band stepping 'Outside the Box'

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By Jesef Williams

INDIAN LAND – The Indian Land High School marching band is trying to step 'Outside the Box' this year.

Instead of playing songs from a movie soundtrack or a popular rock hit, the band has brought concert-style music to the field. And by the sounds of things, the members seem to buy into the idea.

The Warriors' 2008 show is titled "Outside the Box" and features the songs "Legends in the Mist," "Explorations" and "Prelude and Primal Dance."

Director Mathew Willis wanted the band to try something different this year.

He admits the songs aren't easily recognizable, but says they should be just as engaging. The show has a lot of abstract ideas, requiring audiences to watch and listen closely to pick up on the message.

"We are exploring the idea and concept of thinking for yourself, making decisions and not going with the crowd," Willis said.

Band captain Nick Bolick, who plays alto saxophone, is glad the band has moved away from the typical themes IL has performed in past years. This year's music is "more mature" than those used in other shows, he said.

"It's not just straight-forward," he said. "You have to think deeper about it."

At a recent practice, trumpeter Rebekah Strunk had to think deeper about ways to control her breathing.

Toward the end of the last song, Strunk and two other brass players have to step to the side and hold a note by themselves. Strunk had trouble carrying that long note a few times during that day's practice. She's admits there's a little fatigue that sets in from marching so much.

While other players had minor issues with field placement, Strunk said that overall, the band is handling the drill well.

"I think we're getting it all together to give the best show possible – and make it musical," she said.

Indian Land is off to a strong start in competition this season.

The Warriors placed first overall in its class at a competition Sept. 27 in Boiling Springs. They also won first place for both horn line and drum line.

On Oct. 4, Indian Land finished first in its class at the Olde English Festival Bands in Rock Hill. The band won first place in horn line and second place in drum line.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, the Indian Land band finished first in its class and first in music in the Tournament of Bands at Blythewood High School. The Warriors band competed against 10 other bands in Class 1A.

The band will be competing in the Upper State championships at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Each week, Willis has incorporated a new feature into the show. In trying not to give too much away, he simply said some of the additions are body movements and other things to "tease the eye."

He thinks the band's best show is yet to come.

"We have a lot of room for improvement over the next (two) weeks," Willis said.

"I don't think we've hit our peak yet."

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152