Band tuning up for season

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT correspondent

Portales Ram Band students tooted their own horns on Thursday night as they wrapped up two weeks of band camp with a preview concert for parents of their upcoming marching season.

Marching to the 1980s rock beat of “Mr. Roboto,” the fall music and marching show will feature music by Styx in order to appeal to multiple generations of football game-going fans.

“One of our primary audiences is the football crowd, so we want to make our halftime show exciting for the general audience, not just for judges,” said Jennifer Johnson, who is beginning her third year as the lead PHS band director. The Ram Band will perform its first show of the season Sept. 10 at Greyhound Stadium, when the Rams take on Texico in their first home game of the school year.

The flashback to the 1980s theme won’t just appeal to parents, though. Johnson said, “I’m surprised how familiar the music is to kids. What’s old is new, I guess.”

Marcos Romero, a trombone player who has been in band for six years, said, “I’m a huge fan of the 1980s. My mom still has 1980s hair.”

To get the 1980s rock theme going, Edgar Estrada and Tyler Reyes will accompany the band on electric guitar and bass. Michelle Kemp, a senior trombone player who will serve as drum major for the first time this fall, also has an important job in helping keep the band in step and in tune. She said her job is to “energize” her fellow band members.

“If you have a bad day and let it show at the podium, they can see it and it affects their energy,” Kemp said. “My energy affects their energy level and so I have to have a desire to be here.” Kemp hopes to continue to be in involved in marching band when she goes on to college next year at either Eastern New Mexico University or Texas Tech University.

Johnson said that this year’s Ram Band is bigger than usual and already appears to be energized. “Our playing level has increased, as well as our playing abilities, and so we are feeling really strong right now,” she said.