Happy Valley High School band gets ready for new year

Elizabethton High School’s Betsy Band is not the only high school band getting ready for the new year ahead of opening day. Happy Valley High School students have been gathering at an unpainted football field for roughly 12 hours a day getting ready for their own season.

Director Raymond Morton said they have been practicing both inside and outside this week, as the weather has been less than cooperative, but that has not stopped them from getting excited.

“You can see all of it coming together,” Morton said.

A band of about 50 members, Happy Valley High School’s band has been spending their week getting returning members up to speed while teaching new players the ropes, so everyone knows their role when the year begins in a few weeks.

Despite the stress newcomers often experience, Morton said the band will stay strong in spite of those challenges.

“The new kids, they will figure it out,” he said. “You will see the old kids helping the new kids.”

The band might be smaller than others in the area, but it is just as well-loved by its school. Morton said teachers do not just support the band; they sometimes perform in it.

“We had one last year who played the saxophone,” he said. “That is part of the fun.”

This fun factor is a key component of how Morton keeps the band going, from interacting with the school community to coming up with new performances.

This year, the band is currently working on performances based on famous female musicians.

“I like to have fun with it,” Morton said.

As the week-long camp a few weeks before school starts might suggest, marching band is a demanding activity. Dozens of musicians and performers have to move in sync with each other at all times during performances that can take many minutes to complete.

“You have to know where you are going,” he said. “There is a lot to it. It is multi-multi-tasking.”

Despite these challenges, he said the band is taking pride in what it provides for its students.

“[The school] is a great bunch to play for,” Morton said. “Everybody can take pride in what they are doing.”

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