NORMAN PARK, Ga. — The Colquitt County High School band has been working all summer to prepare for the upcoming season.

This year the band is trying something different as they are incorporating eighth graders in for the first time.

Liz Savage, in her sixth year as CCHS band director, is very excited about this new change in the band.

“It was a huge leap of faith,” Savage said. “Right now 50 percent of our band is eighth and ninth graders and it was nerve-wracking at first, but it has been incredible. They are pushing the older kids and they are happy to be here, so it has been really cool.”

To prepare for these changes, the band met up in June for an optional early practice, with over half of the band members showing up.

Students continued to take the initiative as they wanted the band to be stronger in places they weren’t last year, so they pushed for longer band camp and more practice time, Savage said.

“These young boys and girls have risen to the challenge and have taken everyone by surprise,” she said. “It’s been no hiccups. They have jumped right in and have had a work ethic I haven’t seen before in the six years I have been here.”

The band also has received help in the form of the new indoor football facility as they were allowed to use it for two to three times a week during summer practice.

The band will be dressed in keeping with a different weekly theme and it will perform an entirely new routine, but Savage thinks the community will adjust well to it.

“Our show is different than anything we have done,” she said. “It’s 100 percent driven by the students. It’s going to be different for the community, but I think they are going to see how much the kids love performing and it will grow on them.”

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