MAY — On a 93-degree August morning, the 48-member May High School band stood in formation on a practice field as band director Brian Flenniken called out instructions.
Ignore a Bulletin photographer who might walk close by them, and concentrate on marching and playing, Flenniken told the band. At UIL competition later in the school year, they’d have to expect judges to be walking close by and taking notes, Flenniken explained.
Flenniken and band members hope they’ll advance to state competition when the judging begins. That will come later, in cooler fall weather, with band members wearing their green May uniforms.
For the past two weeks, in the band’s summer camp, band members have worn shorts, T-shirts and athletic shoes as Flenniken has worked to get the band ready for the start of the school year. The summer camp ended Thursday.
As Flenniken watched from atop a small band director’s stand, Chris Ewen — one of the band’s two drum majors — shouted out commands.
“Horns up, horns up … ready, play,” Ewen called out.
Flenniken’s son, also named Chris, is the band’s other drum major.
The drum majors took turns directing the band as Flenniken continued watching and speaking over a megaphone.
“Good overall. I know it’s hot and sticky,” Flenniken told the band as a song ended. “We all made a couple of mistakes. Overall, not bad, though.”
In 2017, the May band advanced to state competition for the first time in the band’s history. Last year was a non-advancing year for May, and the band took the year off from competition, Flenniken said.
This year’s band hopes to be the second May band to advance to state.
Flenniken, who is in his 12th year as the May band director, said he works in a “wonderful, supportive community — great people. They’ve very supportive.”