The New Iberia Senior High School band, known as the Pride of Cajunland, celebrated the completion of a grueling two-week long band camp with a performance for the community.
The band performed two movements of their new show, as well as the national anthem and the NISH fight song.
In front of a full stand of spectators, the band and color guard performed a reduced-space version of the show that will be on display during football season.
Band director Kelly Landry said that while the band is still in the first phase of developing the show, there is already a lot to be excited about.
“We’re getting there,” he said. “It’s step one, you know? The thing that we always harp on with the kids is ‘progress over perfection’. It’s not perfect, but it isn’t supposed to be. Every day, every performance, every rehearsal, their job is to get 10% better. Find three things, five things, that you can improve on and hopefully, if we keep that up, when we get to November 14 at state championships, they’ll have their peak performance and they’ll be relaxed.”
While the show went well, Landry said that he would’ve preferred to perform on the NISH football field to display the choreography that the band has been working on.
“I wish we could’ve been out on the field because they’ve worked so hard to get the drill under control, but weather is weather,” he said. “There’s going to be a ton of chances for them to perform and our first game is right around the corner. We have bandboree, which is our version of a jamboree, on September 24 and that weekend starts our true competition season.”
Landry said that the band member’s dedication to band camp this year has been extraordinary, especially given the complex movements and skills they are expected to learn.
The dedication of these kids is always top-notch,” he said. “We always tell them that this isn’t an easy thing. It’s like any endeavor that you take on, if it was easy, then everybody would do it. Band is a little different because it’s not something that you do from a young age. With sports, kids start at 4 years old with tee-ball, so by the time they get to high school, they have muscle memory. With marching band, you don’t have that. You have to develop that muscle memory, and for these freshmen, you only get two weeks. Their dedication and work ethic is top-notch. This is their identity, and they want to be the best that they can be so they’re going to put forth that effort. In nine days, they went from not knowing anything to being able to perform. For me, even if they don’t think that it was a perfect performance, as long as they know that what they did was the best that they can do, I’m fine with that.
Landry praised the spectator attendance for the performance, explaining that arts aren’t always supported like organized sports are in the community.
“It's one of those things where we have to take a step back and understand that support is more important than people realize,” Landry said. “Mom and dad will always tell you that you’re doing great, but to have people from the community that aren't connected with you tell you that you’re good. We’re in a society where the arts aren't heavily appreciated. I get it, it’s not everyone's cup of tea. It’s easy to watch a sporting event and know who won and who lost, but in our situation it’s very subjective. You may see something that you think is great, but somebody else is going to see it another way. To have the community come out and support these kids, it’s amazing. I think that if more people in the area took the time to support their local bands, go see them march and go see their concerts, you’d see a lot more participation in the band. If you’ve never seen it before, give it a chance because it’s an eye-opening experience.