By Ben Lawson
For the next two weeks, the Seymour High School band will be hard at work preparing for another busy year, with many indications pointing to this as the best one yet.
Band camp kicked off on Monday and will see the students through practices five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first week and 8 a.m. to 9 pm the second. Days are broken down into fundamentals, drills and sectionals, with full rehearsals in the evening. The students scatter around the school in groups to practice, since the recently redone band room is designed to hold 60 students. The current roster is 126.
“We have so many kids, there’s not a lot of room to go anywhere,” said band director Rhett Butler.
He indicated that plans are in the works to build a bigger room to accommodate the growing interest in the organization. Now in his 4th year as director, Butler has seen the group swell dramatically, and he feels they will reach 150 students in a few more years. Butler heads a staff of 15, with six permanent members including his wife, assistant director Brittney Butler, who is in her first year full time.
“I don’t think either of us thought three years ago that it would be as big and good as it is now,” she said.
Both Butlers jumped at the opportunity to work with the band after coming out of college, even though that was not always their intention.
“I knew it was going to be music, but not band,” Rhett Butler said.
Now they’re getting ready for one of the busiest years yet, which includes competitions ranging from the Contest of Champions that features bands from across Tennessee, to the Bands of America in Atlanta, which showcases the best bands in the country. Closer to home, they have the Foothills Classic coming up, which will provide a large chunk of the year’s funding should they win.
There will be changes on campus, too. This will be the first year Seymour will field two concert bands, based on skill level, and new bleachers are being built for the band on the football field. They also have a new semi truck for transporting their equipment to competitions and would be happy to host sponsor ads on the trailer.
“We’re the most expensive thing on campus,” Rhett Butler said.
This year the Butlers plan to introduce the band to basketball crowds during home games and will be providing recordings to be played at other school sports and events.
But first they have to get through another long week of practice. It should all pay off on Aug. 5 when they host the students’ families to show off what to expect during the new school year.
Band Camp Underway
By Ben Lawson