0
Votes

South County Band Mentors Middle-schoolers

High-school and middle-school musicians perform pep tunes together.

Erica Townsend, 10th grade, Jonathan Ahn, eighth grade, and Steven Mendoza, 12th grade.

Erica Townsend, 10th grade, Jonathan Ahn, eighth grade, and Steven Mendoza, 12th grade. Steve Hibbard/The Connection

South County High School Marching Band has a great mentoring program. During home football games, 72 musicians perform pep tunes along with 25 eighth-graders—tunes like “The Hey Song,” “Iron Man,” and “Living on a Prayer.”

“Being in the band is hard work, but it’s fun,” said Marching Band Coordinator Gina Bartel, whose two sons, Kody, 16, (trumpet) and Ethan, 13, (chimes) are musicians in the band. Her husband is Randy Bartel of the Crosspointe community.

The eighth-graders receive T-shirts and goodie bags as a preview of high school “to make them feel a little bit special,” she said. And before the football games like last Friday, Sept. 27 against Lee High School, they hold pizza tailgate parties with salad. The bands started rehearsing in mid-August—two weeks before school commenced. “It’s a big commitment,” she said of seven hours a week of rehearsals. The South County Marching Band, which competes at four to five competitions a year, has been a Virginia Honor Band since 2007.