By Kathryn Rice

Early morning practices have been underway since the beginning of school for the Maryville High School Marching Spoofhound Band.

During summer rehearsals, the 59 band members put in a combined 6,400 hours of rehearsal to prepare for the fall competitive season and to support Spoofhound football with halftime performances.

Band practices are 7:55 to 8:45 am, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 7 to 8:45 am on Wednesday and Friday. Their music can be heard throughout the south end of town as the students practice, aiming for marching and playing perfection.

Many of the students have played their instruments since sixth grade with the goal of joining the Marching Spoofhounds.

All this time and effort pay off when the band competes in four marching festivals and one parade. Fall competitions are Carrollton Band Day, September 24, Clarinda Band Jamboree, October 1, Central Methodist University Band Day, Fayette, October 8, and the Missouri Day Marching Festival, Trenton, October 15.

At Clarinda, the band competes in the parade and field categories. At the other festivals, the band enters in four categories: parade competition, field competition, indoor percussion and indoor color guard. The Spoofhounds will march in the Northwest Missouri State University Homecoming parade on October 29.

“We have students who are involved in football, volleyball, soccer, softball, cross country, golf, basketball, wrestling, track and field, baseball, Dazzlers, choir, FFA, FBLA, speech and debate, forensics, Upward Bound, musicals and theater productions,” Jeremy Krug, assistant band director, said. “Many also have part-time jobs and work for businesses in our community and are involved in their churches and youth groups.”

Band director Nathaniel Wehmeyer and Krug are trying to build student participation in the band. In the past, membership had dropped to as low as 36. Their efforts are paying off. This year, membership stands at 59. The directors will continue their efforts to retain many of the 126 middle school band students as future high school band members.

The Spoofhound band also has a 10-student leadership team. Members were selected through a rigorous process which included a written application and a formal interview and audition. These leaders ensure that band members have necessary rehearsal materials, run small group rehearsals, conduct team building activities and are prepared to run rehearsals in the temporary absence of staff members.

The band is made up off four sections:

• Wind instruments: which include flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone and sousaphone.

• Color guard: a group of students who visually represent the music through dance and choreography using flags and prop rifles.

• Percussion: which is divided in to two parts, the battery of snare, tenor and bass drums and the front ensemble made of keyboard percussion instruments such as marimbas and vibraphones.

• Drum majors: student leaders and ensemble conductors who lead band performances.