Practice makes perfect for Oakleaf’s state champion percussion band

By Bruce Hope bruce@opcfla.com
Posted 4/7/21

OAKLEAF – “There’s no replacement for working really hard for something and then finally getting it,” said Chad Robbins, Director of Bands at Oakleaf High.

The “it” that the Oakleaf …

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Practice makes perfect for Oakleaf’s state champion percussion band

Posted

OAKLEAF – “There’s no replacement for working really hard for something and then finally getting it,” said Chad Robbins, Director of Bands at Oakleaf High.

The “it” that the Oakleaf percussion finally got was a state championship recently at the Florida Federation of Colorguard Circuit State Championships at Daytona Beach.

The percussion band put on a show called Generation Next, which featured students dealing with all the different distractions of coming age in 2021 and how they handle the many distractions.

“It’s literally about the next generation stepping up and taking all of this information and technology and making great things happen,” said Robbins.

The band has musicians from grades 9-12 but is light on seniors. The group only has about six seniors and is comprised primarily of lowerclassmen, with a heavy dose of tenth and eleventh graders. Robbins is excited about that because there will be a good amount of returning experience on next year’s squad.

“This was their final competition in person,” Robbins said. “They had some great competition in that class, specifically with Fleming Island, and we ended up coming out on top.”

There is a lot of involvement with Oakleaf bands for the students involved. Many participate in marching band during the fall. Then in the spring, many are members of the percussion band.

“For these kids who put in this activity, all these kids are also involved in concert band, symphonic band or jazz band or wind ensemble, in addition to their indoor percussion involvement,” Robbins said.

The group started last year but couldn’t complete the season due to the shutdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last year they were in a really great place and I think that they knew they had a really great shot to medal and we didn’t get to finish the season, so coming back to this year, they were really aggressive to kind of try and finish what they had started last season,” he said.

The team put in a lot of work to get ready for this season and come out victorious. They practice on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for about three hours each day. On competition days, they meet early, do a three-hour rehearsal, then compete. After competing, they will watch the other groups and then return home.

“On some Saturdays, they’ve done some 9-to-9, 12-hour days of just rehearsing all day ling with just a lunch and dinner break and put in some extra time,” said Robbins.

According to Robbins, one of the standout musicians is senior drum captain, Theo Turner, who’s been a strong leader within the group. He has been a four-year percussionist, which has helped to build the team over time. Another is Ben Lantham, a junior and had a few different solos during the winning show. Senior Alyssa Cordeiro also distinguished herself as a mallet player who led that section.

The Color Guard team’s success began on the first night of the state competition by winning the silver medal with a performance called “Love Lost.”

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