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While classmates have the chance to play during their fall break, Columbus East and Columbus North high schools band members are doing some playing of their own — on their musical instruments, prepping for today’s marching contests.
The East marching band had the early part of this week off before practicing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
However, they will take off the entire second week of fall break to do whatever else is of interest.
The North marching band practiced in minicamps from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. Like East, band members had time off the first part of the week. Unlike East, they will return to minicamp practice Thursday and Friday of next week.
Still, band members and their parents, many of whom serve as band boosters, said they have been enjoying themselves this week just as much as those who might already have logged a week on a faraway beach.
It hasn’t been that long since fall break for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. was just a few days long. The new balanced calendar lengthens breaks in the spring and fall in exchange for shorter summers.
North freshman Kathleen Haegele, who plays clarinet, said learning a routine is reward enough to sacrifice vacation time.
“Marching is part of the whole high school experience for me,” she said. “I feel like when I get done after a long day of practicing, I really did something good for the band and for myself. We share in each other’s victories.”
Wendy Raymer, a North band booster, said there is nothing she and her husband would rather do during fall break than support the band. She and husband, Geof, were high school drum majors in Fort Wayne.
She said the enthusiasm they have for music extends to their marimba-playing sons — Evan, a freshman, and Braeden, a junior.
“Next week we’ll head to Nashville (Tenn.) to do some music-oriented things,” the mother said.
Aaron Villager, a freshman saxophone player at East, said he finds it fun to compete against other schools in front of an audience, as he will do this afternoon.
Jennifer Villiger, the mother of Aaron and senior trumpet player Jacob Villiger, said they would use next week to check out colleges.
East parent Kathy Bradley, whose sophomore daughter, Raegan, plays baritone for the Olympian Spirit, said the band members love one another’s company and would rather be together than anywhere else.
But next week, with no band commitments, Reagan Bradley will go to Florida with friends, and the rest of the family will head to Texas for a college visit.
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