The weather was perfect for the Chester High School Marching YellowJacket Band's annual CHS Band Camp held recently.
CHS Band Director Steve Colonel noted that due to vacations and other obligations, several members of the marching unit were unable to attend, however about 65 marchers were in attendance throughout camp, while he expects that once school starts there will be about 90 members to march for football season.
Sessions included some music rehearsals and logistical meetings in the confines of the CHS band room, while most sessions were on the practice field north of the Track and Field Complex.
"Back on that section of the track and field it is a bit cooler and a little shaded," Colonel said. "The custodial staff lines the field much like the football field so it will be easy for the kids to relate to how the show will transfer to W.O. Smith Field during home football games."
This year's field show is titled "The Music from Shrek" and features popular songs in which everyone should relate including "Funkytown," "Accidentally in Love," and "I'm a Believer."
"This year's show will be fun and the pop music will be popular with most of our YellowJacket fans," Colonel said. "I know the kids are having fun with it in band. The show has three sets or movements; one to correspond to each of the three songs."
The band had two of the three songs on the field by the end of the first day. The next day, they learned the third set and third day was primarily a solid review day.
"The kids worked hard and got all three sets on the field," Colonel said, "We still have to work on music once school starts, but band camp was a big success. The 15 or so kids that could not attend camp will have to catch up, but that should not be a huge problem".
On the final day of camp, the group was treated to a delicious barbecue on the front lawn of Chester High School. The traditional "last day of camp BBQ" featured grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, a variety of chips, several types of cookies and an assortment of beverages.
The Chester Music Patrons provided the food, drinks and cooks to grill and serve the burgers and dogs.
Colonel also noted the Music Department has been moved up to Class B in the 2018-2019 IHSA Music Sweepstakes due to Chester's increased school enrollment.
"We will go from being one of the largest schools in Class C to one of the smallest schools in Class B," he said. "We will begin the new school year by setting new goals and working toward hopefully finishing in the top-3 in the new class."
Chester was the 2017-2018 IHSA State Champion in the Class C IHSA Music Sweepstakes. This year will perhaps be a challenge competing in Class B as one of the smallest schools, but Colonel and the Music Department will undoubtedly "step up to the challenge" and do its best to maintain that championship style in 2018-2019.
The Football YellowJackets will host four home games this season, opening Friday August 24 at W.O. Smith Field when CHS hosts Eldorado. The Marching YellowJackets will be on hand to perform a spirited pregame show, halftime show and keep things lively in the stands at every home game. The public is encouraged to come out and support both the Football YellowJackets and the Marching YellowJackets throughout the 2018 season.