Tonganoxie High continues band camp tradition
Weeklong event prepares group for fall season
Summer traditionally has been the time of year when athletes knock off the rust with weeklong camps for varying sports.
It’s not the only activity in Tonganoxie with such a history.
It’s been something longtime Tonganoxie High School band director Charles Van Middlesworth has done with his students with an annual band camp in the summer. This year’s camp took place the Aug. 10-14 on the THS football practice field.
“We have great kids, and our kids are very hard-working,” Van Middlesworth said. “It’s a great opportunity to reunite and get back together and turn our band into a team. That’s kind of what we do.”
About 95 students participated in the camp, which spanned four hours each morning for five days. Band members worked on marching formations and routines throughout the weeklong camp. Percussion rehearsals also took place after the morning practices.
Van Middlesworth said he had about 98 percent of his total band participate in the camp, which he started when he began teaching in Tonganoxie in 1998.
During the practices, Van Middlesworth broke down marching steps to better prepare the team for performances.
“That’s the thing, getting everyone on the same page,” Van Middlesworth said. “Because 95 people have to step off together. We have to play and start a note together. We have to be able to move to the music together and that’s what we try to do.”
The THS Marching Chieftains participated in the Leavenworth County Fair Parade in July and will perform again for homecoming festivities next month.
Van Middlesworth’s band also will compete in the Bonner Springs Marching Festival on Sept. 24 and the Baker University Marching Festival on Oct. 14. And, the band plans to march in the Maple Leaf Festival Parade on Oct. 17 in Baldwin City.
And Oct. 24 is the Central States Marching Festival in Manhattan. Van Middlesworth said it’s a goal of his to have the team compete in that event.
THS will perform its halftime show for Chieftain football games at the marching festivals.
“We’re going to showcase some popular Latin music, so we’re really excited about that.”
Getting all of those preparations started were practices during band camp.
“It was a positive experience,” Van Middlesworth said. “Just a great experience with the kids. They love band camp because they get excited about it and get excited about our show.”
THS makes history
The Tonganoxie High School band also had a successful spring contest season.
The high school wind ensemble received all “I” ratings at the state’s large group music festival in April. All three judges gave the a sweep of “I” ratings.
“That was a big deal,” Van Middlesworth said. “All three of them basically say ‘you’re superior.’”
Van Middlesworth said that was a first in his tenure at THS for the large group competition.
The high school’s jazz combo also received a “I” rating at KU jazz festival.