Tuscola band jump starts season with community help

By Anne Baker | Aug 15, 2013
Photo by: Anne Baker The Marching Mountaineers practice their routine during their second week of band camp.

As the Tuscola High School Marching Mountaineers wrap up the second week of band camp today and look toward the first home game of the season against TC Roberson at the end of August, they are already feeling the support of Haywood County residents.

A new band tower that allows directors a better vantage point and provides the team with more storage was finished about two weeks ago. The tower was built completely by local volunteers, many of whom donated their time after work or on Saturdays.

“The tower demonstrates what the community means to us,” band director Tim Wise said. “Especially when schools are getting cut and cut and cut — this wouldn’t have been able to be done. When the band comes knocking, the community is eager to support us.”

The materials to complete the tower were also provided by volunteers, either free of charge or from local businesses that offered an extreme discount.
The tower contains multiple levels, offering band directors the opportunity to see the group from a much higher level than previous year’s rotating scaffolding allowed. Wise said he is especially excited about this aspect of the tower, because it gives him a chance to see how the routines are developing.
Wise expects the tower will be at Tuscola High for years.

This year’s Marching Mountaineers will have a busy season that not only includes the usual Friday night football games but also four contests at Enka, Owen, Western Carolina University and Pisgah. Although the band lost quite a few seniors, Wise said a younger group is in no way detrimental to the band’s success.

“It’s exciting when you have mostly younger students — they’re eager to do everything,” he said. “And the veterans have really stepped up to become strong leaders.”

Eleventh grader Sarah Cook and seniors Rachel Huertas and Christina Darguzas are three of these leaders in particular who have worked hard to help the group succeed.

“We have lots of freshmen, but we’re really good this year,” Cook, a color guard member, said.

Huertas, another color guard member, and Darguzas, who plays the flute, echoed her sentiments.

“I’m excited to see everyone improve and reach their goals,” Huertas said.

Darguzas added that as she has had the opportunity to teach the younger students, she’s been able to learn how to work with many different people.

“I’m ready to make senior year great, especially since it’s my last one [at Tuscola],” she said.

The Marching Mountaineers practice twice a week from 5:15 to 8:40 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at Tuscola. The public is welcome to attend practices.

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