Volunteer Regiment strives to give 100 percent

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By Jesef Williams

KERSHAW – For the Andrew Jackson High Volunteer Regiment, performing well isn't good enough. Band director Scot McGuire wants his players to give 100 percent all of the time – even in rehearsal.

Fresh off an exhibition on Saturday, marching band members feel good about the progress the band has made thus far this season but know there's still much room for improvement.

McGuire will tell you it all starts with practice.

The Regiment, sporting about 45 members this year, is marching to a show theme called "Tribal Elements." It pays respect to Native American history and culture.

The Volunteer Regiment's drill consists of four song movements and features many props, including tepees and bigger-than-life totem poles. The main colors are red, brown and orange, which complement the autumn season well.

Drum major Emily Stover likes this show better than the ones in recent years.

"It's a winning show," Stover said. "If we can perform to the level it's designed, it should be amazing."

At Monday's field practice, band members worked toward perfecting the drill. A huge part of that not only included arriving at the right field spots on time, but making sure the totem poles were placed correctly.

Senior Caryn Truesdale, who has a flute solo, said each marcher, at least one time during the show, has to roll a totem pole to a new spot on the field.

Truesdale said that's a challenging aspect to the show, but she believes including the totem pole effect will help the show.

"It's a whole different element for us," she said.

The four songs featured in the show are "Great Spirit," "Dancing Song," "Morning Star" and "Sacred Land." Through these tunes, spectators can expect to see tributes to Indian dance, prayer rituals, battle and quilting customs.

"It's paying respect to the history, present and future," McGuire said. "The band's show is awesome."

The Regiment will bring the Tribal Elements theme to Rock Hill on Saturday for the annual Olde English Festival of Bands competition. The following weekend, the band will appear at a competition in Blythewood. Upper State preliminaries are Oct. 11.

McGuire hasn't set a numerical or competition rating goal for the band this year, though he thinks the band will perform at a higher level than last year.

"Expectations have raised drastically," he said. "They're doing fine, but I try to push them to the next level of marching, musicality and overall performance."

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