2013-11-20 / School News

Paw Paw High School band under new leadership

by Kate Evans


Sarah Shoremount, Paw Paw Schools band director and music instructor, directs a fine point while drum major and senior Michael Pracht conducts the high school band in their band room. 
photo by Kate Evans Sarah Shoremount, Paw Paw Schools band director and music instructor, directs a fine point while drum major and senior Michael Pracht conducts the high school band in their band room. photo by Kate Evans The Paw Paw High School band continues to flourish under the leadership of new director Sarah Shoremount.

Shoremount came on board as the new music instructor and band director for Paw Paw Schools grades K-12 in August. Former music teacher/band director Ian Helmick became the new Berkeley Springs High School and Warm Springs Middle School band director.

Shoremount attended Shenandoah Conservatory and received a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in oboe performance. She worked last year at Rippon Middle School in Prince William County, Va.

Band size

The high school band has nearly 40 members—roughly half boys and half girls. Shoremount felt the size of the band for the size of the school is excellent.


The Paw Paw High School Marching Band practices “Ghostbusters” outside with drum major Michael Pracht conducting. 
photo by Kate Evans The Paw Paw High School Marching Band practices “Ghostbusters” outside with drum major Michael Pracht conducting. photo by Kate Evans She had some kids not join band this year, but was glad that many students stayed on. A lot of kids are involved in cross-country, volleyball, STEM Club and other activities.

Her goals include keeping the fifth and sixth graders going with band and expanding parent involvement in their band boosters. They have some pretty big needs for new instruments, instrument repair and cleaning.

Focus

The band has been working on snapping their instruments up and down on specific counts, “which looks really sharp,” she said. They also have worked on keeping their feet moving in time. Since they are a seventh to 12th grade band, seventh graders need to work on coordination more because they’re new to marching.


The Paw Paw Marching Band gets ready to rock at the Apple Butter Parade. 
photo by Sarah Shoremount The Paw Paw Marching Band gets ready to rock at the Apple Butter Parade. photo by Sarah Shoremount There are always coordination issues with marching— feet, posture, keeping time and playing the right notes.

“It’s a lot to think about when you’re first starting out,” she said of the band.

Sight-reading is a big focus for Shoremount, who believes it’s an important skill for kids to practice and have.

Benefits

Marching band is a whole body/whole mind thing that’s uses both sides of the brain at the same time, Shoremount noted. One has to play the right note at the right time, stay in line and march in step.

“It’s a challenge,” she said.

Being in band also builds teamwork and cooperation.

“If you miss band, your section is behind because we all work together. If someone’s missing, it affects how the group sounds in that section. Everybody matters and makes a difference,” Shoremount said.

Drum major and senior Michael Pracht has played flute for six years and played trumpet in band in fifth grade. He began as drum major in his junior year.

The most interesting part of band is that “we all come together and get something done,” Pracht said. Each section has their own little part. His favorite thing is the parades.

“You work so hard on one song. Once you see the result, you’re proud because you worked so hard to perfect it,” he said.

Teamwork, discipline

The two biggest benefits of band are teamwork and discipline, Pracht said.

“We all have to work together to do our job right. You develop a brotherhood with everyone,” he said.

Pracht said the band program helps kids from Paw Paw travel and go places and meet new people. He’d definitely recommend band to anyone and said that students would learn a lot from it.

Pracht wants to attend Glenville State College and major in natural resources or environmental science.

Loves band

Junior Brook Shell has been playing flute since fifth grade. She tried trumpet for a week, but switched back to flute. Shell loves marching in parades and playing concerts. She loves being able to play music and also listen to it.

Shell has learned how to listen to different sounds and thought band has helped her with memorizing things. She made a lot of friends through band and said they’re a band family.

“If you have a passion for music, definitely do it or try it out,” she said.

Junior Jade Kerns has played bells in concert band since seventh grade and is also a majorette in marching band. She always enjoys the trips and places they go in band.

“There’s always precious memories made,” she said.

She marched with bells until seventh grade when she decided to give baton twirling another try and discovered it was her thing.

School pride

Kerns loves when the crowd cheers them and people tell them what a good job they’ve been doing. Being in band gives you school pride and opens you up to discovering more about yourself.

“It’s really like a big family” Kerns said.

Kerns encouraged kids to try band. It’s a domino effect—the more band members they have, the more things they can try and the more fun they have. With band members getting older and graduating, students should join now so the band doesn’t diminish.

“The band is our pride and joy,” she said.

Senior Josh Newlon has been playing the quads—four attached drums—since eighth grade. He started band in seventh grade playing baritone sax. Newlon said he enjoys the college and community parades. He likes playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Newlon felt being in band gives students an edge at colleges. He plans to either join the Army or attend Potomac State or Shepherd University and major in physical therapy.

Sophomore Richard Marlow has been in band since the beginning of his freshman year and plays baritone sax. Marlow said he’s met a lot of people through band, which allows them to get to know each other better. He would recommend band if kids want to learn how to play an instrument.

Sophomore Matt Ginevan has been playing trumpet in band since sixth grade. He started with recorder in fourth grade, then tried flute and percussion before settling on trumpet.

Stress reliever

Ginevan said music has always had a deep meaning in his life. Songs they play in band have a good feeling and bring back memories. Playing music for an hour is a good way to relieve stress and relax and have fun.

“It’s a great feeling having everyone come together and making one big sound,” Ginevan said.

He’s enjoyed playing songs like Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Ginevan likes the band trips and playing music with everyone. He’d recommend band to anyone and advised students to try another instrument if they didn’t like the one they were playing.

Parades, concerts

The marching band played for the Apple Butter Parade and at the Halloween parade in Cumberland.

Shoremount is excited about new band pieces they’re working on. One is a medley of four measures of 20 Christmas carols done in two minutes. They’ll be performing it at their mid-December Christmas concert.

They will also have their band adjudication concert in March where they’ll play three pieces before judges, Shoremount said. There will also be some parades in the spring.

The band boosters sold caramel apples at the town’s fall festival as a fundraiser. Shoremount appreciated the school and community support of the band program.

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