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LHS band playing 'Motown Woodstock' this season

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Band maintains focus while director is out on sick leave

By Jesef Williams

The Lancaster High School marching band members played their instruments with force and pride. They marched with precision and even went back to fix mistakes that may have occurred.

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Everything seemed normal at a recent marching band practice – except one thing: The man guiding the ship was missing.

Band director John Rhodes has been out on sick leave for the last few weeks. Despite his absence, the band remains determined to perform well this competition season.

The Bruins’ show theme this year is “Motown Woodstock.” It combines sounds from the famed Detroit-based record label and the Woodstock Festival, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

Freshman Ashley Smith, who plays the bass drum, loves the theme and said it’s a lot of fun to play.

“It’s definitely original,” Smith said. “I’ve never seen anybody with it.”

Jamarlo Moore, the drum captain, believes “Motown Woodstock” is the best show the band has put together since he’s been a member.  

The senior said if the band focuses on basic techniques, it should do well this season.

Still strong

Drum major David Collins said band members have remained upbeat since Rhodes went out on leave.

Rhodes has since sent the band a letter telling them to get as much work done as possible and that he hopes to rejoin the group later in the year.

“We’ve been doing pretty good rehearsal-wise,” Collins said about the band’s progress. “It’s pretty smooth. We’re keeping it together right now.”

The band’s first competition of the season will now be Oct. 17 in Mooresville, N.C.

“We should be really good for that one,” Collins said.

Upperstate preliminaries are Oct. 24. If the band performs well enough, it will compete in the state championships the following weekend.

“The students have energy. The show has energy,” said Benjamin Hingle, band director at A.R. Rucker Middle School, who is helping fill in during Rhodes’ absence. “They seem excited every time they come to practice.”

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