Daily Mountain Eagle
Band students across the county have been gearing up for next school year’s performances by participating in band camp for the past couple of weeks, but they are having to take special precautions to not overheat …
Daily Mountain Eagle
Band students across the county have been gearing up for next school year’s performances by participating in band camp for the past couple of weeks, but they are having to take special precautions to not overheat outside.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures were in the high 80s to low 90s last week, and have been in the 80s this week.
Oakman band director Casey Woods said his students have been practicing in the evenings to avoid hot temperatures at midday and early afternoon.
“Last week was a little more brutal than this week has been, because of the humidity,” Woods said. “We do our best to keep them hydrated, and if they get to feeling bad we send them in with a partner, so they’re not by themselves, in case they were to get sick.”
He said a couple of students have gotten sick during band camp practice, but after becoming hydrated the students felt much better and were able to return to the practice field. Woods said coolers are accessible to students with plenty of water and Gatorade to keep them hydrated.
He said 54 students will be in this year’s band, and they are looking forward to possibly participating in a couple of events.
“One thing we’re going to try to do is take the entire band to the UNA Marching Honor Band, and that’s where they’ll get to participate with the UNA band at a halftime football game,” Wood said.
Dora High School’s band director, Jeremy McFall, said they, too, have chosen to have their band camp during the afternoon.
“One of the things we do at Dora to try to cope with the heat is we’ve adjusted our rehearsal time. Instead of the traditional 8 a.m. to 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, we actually start at 1 p.m., and we stay inside until after our dinner break at 5:30,” McFall said. “Then we go outside when the sun has started to set, and it’s not quite as hot during that time of the schedule.”
He added, “We’ve got an asphalt parking lot for a practice field. ... With the sun reflecting off that asphalt, the asphalt temperatures get pretty hot, anywhere between 125 and 140 degrees. That’s just the surface of the asphalt. That’s one reason we avoid being outside until after the sun is starting to set.”
McFall said this year’s band camp hasn’t been as brutal as last year, and the students take water breaks every 35 to 40 minutes to stay hydrated.
Eighty students are in Dora’s band this year.
Jason Lipscomb, Jasper High School’s band director, said a few students did become sick during the first few days of practice, but after learning to have meals before practice and making sure to drink plenty of Gatorade or water, students have been faring well.
“It’s actually been pretty good this year. It’s not been as hot as it was last year, and this week, especially, has been pretty comfortable for the kids. They’ve really been able to push through, and they’ve done a good job,” Lipscomb said. “They just have to learn to take care of their bodies. We talk about preparing for practice, about hydration and those kids of things, just how to take care of themselves so they are prepared.”
Jasper High’s 155 band students also have access to bucket fans that send out a cool mist, and they also participate in other fun summer activities during breaks to keep cool.
Sara Lipscomb, Cordova High School’s band director, said none of her students have become sick due to heat exhaustion.
“We’ve had some pretty mild days ... and the humidity has been a little lower the past few days,” she said.
Sara Lipscomb said she has many rookies in the band this year, which has grown from 50 students last year to 75 this year.
She said students essentially go through an orientation to remind them to wear breathable clothing, apply sunscreen and take other special precautions during hot temperatures.
“We talk about eating healthy, staying hydrated and staying away from sugary drinks that dehydrate you, such as soft drinks,” she said.
Other band directors in the county could not be reached for comment.
Most band camps last anywhere from one to three weeks.