Where Friends Become Family

Jamie LaGattuta, Staff Writer

One weekend, 300 marching band students, Pine Forest Camp Pennsylvania. Band camp. Four days where unforgettable friendships are formed. It is a lot of hard work filled with immense reward, endless laughs, and more importantly,  a second family.

Band Camp is a mandatory trip for the marching band in order for them to learn their entertaining halftime show. Staff members are brought in to teach the students about marching methods and drills. In addition, rehearsals are held to practice and perfect the music. Even though that sounds like a lot of tedious work, there are plenty of activities that help form the bonds that people remember for the rest of their lives. Through marching band, leaders are able to emerge and inspire the underclassmen while discovering themselves and experiencing personal growth. People continue to look forward to band camp every year because it is an indescribable time that needs to be experienced personally to fully understand the plethora of emotions that come about. Through this program, you are forced to talk to people you never would have approached in school. Not only do you talk to them but you morph into a close knit family. People have said that band camp is the cherry on top that makes our marching band the best because it is transformative in team building and sharing the love of music. “Knowing that everyone comes together to create a show purely out of the love of marching is amazing,” says Kaitlin Buttofuco

Now, even though band camp’s purpose is to learn the show, there are still plenty of fun activities. For example on the first night, Thursday, seniors teach the freshman how to make their drill books and host what we call “drill book parties” in their cabins. Following that, there is also a basketball tournament where band members get to create their own teams and show off their athleticism. Then we lead into Friday where the best marchers are chosen to compete in a march-off until the best one is left standing. There are endless cheers and support overwhelming the contestants. Next is the karaoke night, where students can sign up to sing and dance to their favorite song solo or with a friend and just let loose. Everyone sings and claps along like one big campfire sing-along. After more work on Saturday, there is a volleyball game between the seniors and the staff members. Everyone gets very competitive and becomes super focused. Then at night time there is a big party called DJ night as a celebration for everyone’s hard work over the weekend. You get to sing and dance with your newly formed friends and make memories that will never be forgotten. The best part about all of this is that most of marching band is student-run, including the activities, and it gives students a learning experience that can’t be taught in a classroom.

When people return, they are always surprised by the power of the experience. “Band camp is something that I hold near and dear to my heart. Band became my second family and I owe it all to Pine Forest. It is a very special place because that is where I got to know my best friends. Who knew that you could become so close to people in just four days? The memories I have made with my fellow marching members will be something I will never forget,” says attendee Emily McCarthy. It truly is a unique experience that makes the dynamic of our band and program that much better.

* Photo Courtesy of Lifetouch