Biloxi High band braves the heat in prep for football season
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The Coast is no stranger to intense heat. This week has been no different, and that’s creating some challenges ahead of football season.
Before the school year starts, high school marching bands spend hours practicing outside with their instruments. At Biloxi High, the field is filled with band students rehearsing for the end-of-summer band camp celebration.
“We were here for about five hours a day with hour-and-a-half intervals,” said band director Tracy Carter. “We would come out there for a little while when the weather was nicer and within a safe range, then we would go inside for multiple hours. We kind of staggered time due to safety heat regulations.”
Band students James Leon and Ruthie Barnett are used to practicing in the heat.
“This year, we did about three hours rehearsing outside then go out on the practice field, go back inside for a long break, then go back on the field here,” said Leon. “By around 6 p.m., it gets cool outside and it’s a lot easier to rehearse.”
Summer marching practice gets band students ready for football halftime shows, so they find ways to handle the heat.
“They have these awesome water fountains with our parent volunteers that have Gatorade and water to make sure we stay hydrated, and we can always sit down if we feel too hot,” said Barnett. “They don’t push us too hard.”
Friday, the band got a chance to show off their skills to a crowd — which meant more people out in the heat. Carter made sure extra precautions were taken, including having an ambulance crew ready to help anyone who became overheated.
“With the heat in general, we made sure that everybody visiting us that we had all kinds of options available, so we had lots of water, Gatorade and people on standby,” said Carter. “We’re going to keep this within a 20-minute time window, which is what current regulations say for us, to get out of doing active things and be in the sun. We are going to keep it pretty short.”
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