For most of us, the chirring of crickets serves as a bittersweet harbinger of summer’s end. But for neighbors of Columbia High School, fall is heralded by the snap of the snare drums, the blare of the trumpets and the full-throated cry of “HALT!” as the Cougar Marching Band takes the field.
The “Pride of Columbia” — musicians, color guard, drum major and all — spend the week before Labor Day in a challenging Band Camp (known to many as Boot Camp).
From 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., students drill, practice their music, and are fitted for uniforms and shakos under the tutelage of Peter Bauer, Director of Bands, and a team of assistants. The camp culminates in the season’s first performance for an enthusiastic audience of parents, neighbors and friends.
You can see this season’s program, entitled Fusion, at halftime during Columbia football games as well as at competitions across the state. Aspiring musicians and band aficionados of all ages are invited to come and cheer.
Deborah Gaines is a rookie band mom. Photos by Michelle Schwartzbard.