Hempfield Area band camp and others wrap up as summer ends

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

Band director Brian Tychinski led the Hempfield Area High School band in practice from his perch on a balcony in front of the press box of the school’s stadium.

“Horns up!” he shouted through a headset to all 199 marchers.

Like high schools throughout the eastern suburbs, Hempfield Area held its summer band camp this month. 

The Hempfield Area students learned 60 sets of movements to two songs, “Malaguena” and “Children of Sanchez,” Mr. Tychinski said. But it is games such as Simon Says that “help teach band members basic commands and marching basics, that make camp fun,” he said.

Assistant band directors Nancy Flinner and Andy Giles, along with Kim Haile, who is in charge of the color guard and majorettes, helped with the effort. Retired band director Richard Auman, who had worked for the Derry Area and the Greater Latrobe school districts, also helped coach.

“He’s got a wealth of experience and the kids look up to him as a grandfather figure,” Mr. Tychinski said. 

While the band marched, parent volunteers were getting food ready in the kitchen at the complex.

Former special education teacher Nancy Johnston, who is in charge of that effort, said the students have two main fundraisers each year to pay for their meals at camp. Band members get a hot lunch, sandwiches or salads, two snacks per day and water breaks all day long.

“Last year, we went through 122 pounds of bananas,” she said.

Two registered nurses volunteer to make sure first aid is available every day of camp. Pearl Kolbosky is the school nurse at West Hempfield elementary and middle schools. Megan Davidson is an intensive care unit nurse at Forbes Hospital.

Mrs. Davidson’s son, Xavier Rosado, who is a sophomore this year, plays bass, and her husband, Carmen Davidson, is president of the Hempfield Area Band Parents.

Problems she has encountered during band camp have included heat exhaustion and one teen who tore off his thumbnail on a percussion instrument, Mrs. Davidson said.

“We give out a lot of Band-Aids and ice bags,” she said.

Isaiah Glisan, a senior, who plays cymbals in the band, said camp taught him to work as a team.

“I learned that you really need to work as a whole,” he said.

Band camp also was in session at Penn Hills High School this month. Director Mike Berkey said space and time are the themes of this year’s show, with music from “Dr. Who” and the pop hit “Counting Stars.”

The high school Rhythmettes Dancers will dance to the song “Time Warp,” he said.

Some upperclassmen joined the band this year, bringing knowledge they had gained from playing the piano or violin to a band instrument, Mr. Berkey said.

The young musicians learn “perseverance, teamwork and how to collaborate,” he said. “Hopefully that can transfer to school and their careers.”

About 10 parent volunteers are present during band camp to give assistance.

Franklin Regional High School band director Kevin Pollock said that school’s band camp involved its 200 members “working on drills and new music for this season’s halftime show, for pregame and for parades.” This year’s theme is A Little Night Music, and all songs mention the night.

“It’s rewarding to learn all that in two weeks,” he said.

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com. 

Anne Cloonan, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse


Create a free PG account.
Already have an account?