Betsy Band makes us proud with U-T performance

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Elizabethton High School Band once again has made the Elizabethton community proud by its performance Saturday at the University of Tennessee football game in Knoxville.

The Betsy Band has long been Elizabethton’s pride and joy. It is our marching band, the focus of half-time shows at football games, and the highlight of most parades. In the spring, it is the concert band and the jazz band.

There are some things we need to know about high school bands — not just the Betsy Band, but our county high school bands, as well. They work hard to do what they do. You hear about the practice and the hard work the football team does during the August heat; the band does that too. They may not wear pads and helmets, but they wear heavy uniforms and most of them carry heavy instruments.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

They have to practice every day. Their music has to be memorized perfectly, and each member of the band has to know exactly where he or she is supposed to be on the field, when to move, and where to move. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it takes a while to learn and to perfect. It takes practice.

Band members, like the football players, are out there every day practicing. They don’t just practice during band class or time on the field, but at home on a daily basis. Playing an instrument is like anything else. To be good, you have to practice, and practice takes time.

Before the start of school, band members attend camp — all day outside in the summer heat. During band camp, freshmen learn what the band is about. It is during these day-long drills, band members begin learning their new half-time show for the upcoming season.

Band isn’t something that students just one day wake up and decide might be fun to do. It’s something that they must commit to, on a daily basis, often giving up lots of other fun things they could be doing, because they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Band members are just as dedicated as any athlete you see on any high school field on Friday night. They invest a lot time into what they do — learning the instrument, the music, the halftime shows at football games. This, in addition to music for parades, concerts, etc.

The lessons learned in high school band are shaping the lives of our “leaders of tomorrow” through the ethical and work habits they establish each day in the classroom and on the field.

The Elizabethton High School Band has about 150 members, which is about 20 percent of the school’s enrollment. High school bands in the county are much smaller, but regardless of how large or small the band, it takes practice, hard work, and commitment on the part of the band student. It also involves giving up their own Friday night, which is the most important night of the week for being free and socializing with your friends.

Bands cost, and much of the money for trips like Saturday’s, is raised by the Band Boosters, parents of the band students, who work hard, also. These parents give up their time and often spend their own money to see that the band gets to where it needs to be, as well as the instruments and equipment. At appearances like the one Saturday, the students need to be fed. Band Boosters step in to help; often it is with donations from businesses in the community that allow the Band Boosters to take care of the band. Everything that the band does costs money.

Band members learn more than just the right steps and right notes. They learn what it is to work together to make a beautiful sound. They learn how to celebrate victory and how to lose graciously. More than anything, they learn a work ethic, and they learn to work together, thus producing a bond between them that cannot be broken.

There’s more to band than buying an instrument and learning music. The learned skills needed to excel in band are transferable to every academic subject.

We are proud of the Betsy Band, which has a winning tradition. Once again, you have made the Elizabethton and Carter County community proud.