Upton holds powerful connection with band

Andi Fox, Feature Editor

Band director Daniel Upton has had a part in directing band ever since he started working at HHS five years ago. Upton’s love for music started when he was very young, but he didn’t always want to be a music teacher.

“I wanted to be an architect until about my junior year of high school. It then clicked that music was what really made me happy and the experiences and people involved needed to be a part of the rest of my life,” Upton said. “I always wanted to play percussion. I officially started playing in 6th grade band and haven’t stopped ever since.”

According to Upton, the band is composed of really amazing people that form something similar to a big family.

“The people [are the best part about marching band]. Over 100 students come together to form a production in such a small amount of time. It’s also pretty cool for the freshman to have over 100 friends prior to the first day of their high school career. Band is such a family and strong community,” Upton said.

Upton also appreciates all of the opportunities that band offers.

“The people I have met and the opportunities are endless.  I attend conducting workshops every summer and know band directors and professional conductors and musicians literally across the entire world.  It is such a small world and tight network of amazing people.  I am blessed to know the people I know.  I’ve also traveled to some pretty cool places because of band,” Upton said.

Senior Lucy Moss comes from a musical family and plays the alto saxophone in marching band. She is also involved in a cover band, the high school’s jazz and symphonic bands, district band, city county band, and she typically does the wind symphony. Moss believes that marching band is very difficult and that every person is relied upon during performance.

“The hardest thing about marching band is focussing. Marching band is an everyone sport. If you don’t do exactly what you are supposed to do you get points off. Everyone contributes 100% of the time, and if your focus wavers during the show, you screw up. Everything moves so fast, and you have to put all of your energy into the show; it’s very difficult. You have to focus on the music, which that in itself is difficult enough, but also your step style, where you’re going, any visuals and where you are on the field according to everyone else so you can make straight lines. You have to think about passing so you get to your dot at exactly the right time and not too soon and not too late,” Moss says.

Upton agrees that every person is needed and that not everyone realizes their importance.

“The toughest part is making everyone understand how important every single person is. The marching band show is written for the exact number of people, and each individual person has a spot created just for them. Without everyone there, a hole is present, and the complete show isn’t able to happen as intended. Everyone is just as important as the person next to them,” Upton said.

Freshman Declan Leach is doing band for the first time this year. He is in the drum line and plays the bass drum. Marching band has taught him a lot of skills that he can use in the future.

“I think you learn a lot of team building skills that you can use later, and you definitely learn to work as a unit better because you have to play in time and march in time,” Leach said.

Moss also learned a lot from being in marching band.

“The best part about marching band is everything you learn. You learn to be on time and how to be a leader and to care for others. It teaches you discipline and attention to detail. I have learned to be a leader through marching band, [and it] teaches you to be selfless. Marching band teaches you how to be supportive… and you learn how to help people. You learn respect, you learn camaraderie, you learn to pay attention, you learn to be silent, you build muscle, you learn to follow directions exactly, you learn to always ask if someone needs help, and you learn to carry yourself with pride,” Moss said.

As a teacher, marching band is constantly teaching Upton new things as well.

“I’m constantly learning new things….it is so important to continue learning and to continue to better yourself for the sake of your students. Whether it be a new technique, new music, or a new exercise.”

Marching band practice is immediately after school, and according to Leach, is the hardest thing about marching band.

“[We practice] every day, for three hours after school, and it’s often hot… [This] often leads to rushing to finish homework on time,” Leach said.

Moss agrees that marching band takes up a lot of time, but she puts music before her other hobbies.

“The worst part about marching band is the time commitment. Because of the lack of time to do homework, marching band makes the first semester extremely stressful. “I [also] do track, and it conflicts horribly with all of my music activities. I didn’t get to go to a lot of the meets last year because of music conflicting with track, and I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. Music is my priority,” Moss said.

Upton finds band to be very time consuming as well, but he believes it encourages time management skills.

I stress to all of my students how you are able to make just about everything work if you plan ahead and communicate effectively. Commitment and following through is such an important life skill,” Upton said.

All of the practice leads up to various competitions throughout the season.

“Our goal is to get better in everything we do.  Each time we perform the show, whether it is at a football game, competition or end of a practice, we strive to make it better than the time before that run. It is important for our students to live by this in all aspects of their life….constantly strive for better, for improvement,” Upton said.

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