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Rebel Regiment marches on despite rain
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Will Alford, first-year director of the Rebel Regiment, reaches for his clipboard during a recent practice of the band's halftime show. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott
SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Rebel Regiment is doing everything it can to get ready to provide a spectacular halftime show for the Rebels' first football game. The biggest obstacle to overcome is rain. Director Will Alford said that, as of Thursday, the band had lost more than nine hours of outside rehearsal time due to the inclement weather. Alford said, “Band camp is one of the times when we get most of our work done, just because we’re able to have the kids here (at school) and focused only on band. Once you get them back in the school environment, they’re focused on homework and tests and other classes, so that’s why we’re able to be so productive in band camp. So missing nine hours of rehearsal time has been a struggle but we’re doing the best we can.” Thursday’s practice was, unfortunately, typical as the kids took the field and started with warmups and drills only to have to grab their instruments and head back inside for some instrument practice when lightning started getting too close. Alford said, “The kids know the music really well. We just haven’t been able to spend time outside learning what they’re supposed to be doing and how to actually put the music with the drill itself. So there’s a lot of catching up that needs to be done.” He said this year’s show is pretty tough visually but they’re getting there. “I have faith in the kids that we’ll be where we need to be when we need to be there," Alford said. He said this year’s show is called "Dragon," which is a story about a dragon and a man, and their battle between good and evil. The show will start amid a mysterious backdrop — the winds will be playing while the flag corps will doing some dancing, symbolizing a kind of village atmosphere. Then the crowed will hear some imposing, ominous sounds that will introduce the dragon. New music will accompany the hero's arrival and the piece ends with a battle scene. A second piece of will be very pretty and thoughtful. It will be followed by a short percussion tune that adds some contrast. The closing piece starts with both central characters being reintroduced, not sure if fighting is the way to go or if they can find another way. Some of the music is from the movie “How to Train Your Dragon" and “Dragon Heart." It's very adventurous music. The marching band is nearly 200 members strong and requires seven buses to carry them and their equpment to games. The opener is at Evans near Augusta. This marks Alford's first year in charge of the Rebel Regiment, having served as assistant director for nine years in addition to being director at the Effingham County Middle School last year. Alford said he has a collection of good kids and he is proud of them. He also gave praise to their parents and said, “If it wasn’t for their support and their continual effort to provide meals for the kids during band camp and get their kids here on time, and have them here for rehearsal — everything this band program runs on is based on parent work and volunteers.”