Flag corps members join the VSHS musicians in learning their steps during Band Camp.

Long before the community sees them in their black and gold uniforms, playing their instruments and marching in formation, the members of the Vinton-Shellsburg High School Marching Band have been working together in shorts or jeans and tennis shoes, marching sometimes without instruments, as they learn the footwork required for a Division 1-rated performance.

Instead of a drum beat, the students hear the loud beep of a metronome, as their director counts out steps and changes in direction. Some rehearsals have taken place inside, others on the practice field or the artificial turf of the football field. Some early sessions focus exclusively on the music, others on footwork. The last few days of camp include both marching and playing, with the goal of having the band prepared to follow only its drum majors, without any coaching from the director.

Band members have been attending the official, traditional Band Camp since last Monday, but many of them had been working on the summer show for weeks before that.

“We’ve had a week of great rehearsals with help from a number of different clinicians and instructors, including a leadership seminar with the Director of Bands at Mt. Mercy University, Steve Stickney.” says VSHS Band Director Nick Waymire. “The students are as prepared to succeed as they can possibly be, and everyone is excited to see where this season can take us.”

This year’s theme is “Night at the Opera,” and includes the songs “Bacchanale” by Saint-Saens, “Time to Say Goodbye” By Andrea Bocelli, and a student favorite, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Camp ends on Saturday, Aug. 12, when the public is invited to see the band perform its show at noon on the football field.