COLUMBIA — Dew clings to the football field turf as Battle High School marching band students lay their instruments on the track to form a stretching circle. Members of the pit ensemble wheel various vibraphones, marimbas and other mallet instruments to the center of the field.
Even though Battle starts later than typical high schools, with its first period beginning at 9 a.m., band practice still begins early in the morning. The marching band, consisting of wind instrument players and pit, drumline and color guard members, practices every weekday from 7 to 8:30 a.m.
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They also attend Friday night football games and all-day Saturday marching band competitions.
This week, they are using their practice time to clean the rough areas of their show, called "Village of Sparta," based on comments received from judges at their first two performances. Their third show will take place Saturday at MU’s Memorial Stadium.
The band placed second in its division at its first two shows, which was an accomplishment, band director Robert Thalhuber said. Many of the students had never attended a competitive marching band competition before, and only three of the students had been taught by Thalhuber before the band was formed this summer.