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Lord Botetourt High School band battles summer heat

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:19 PM EDT
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DALEVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Near-triple-digit temperatures and uncomfortable humidity can’t dampen the spirit of the Lord Botetourt High School band.

“I just think we’re all glad that we get to be able to do this again,” explained Riley Rothwell, the front ensemble section leader for the Cavalier band. “It’s been two years and some of us just really love doing this.”

So much so, they spend up to ten hours practicing a day at band camp, even when the thermometer approaches uncomfortable temperatures.

“It’s putrid, it’s awful out here. But honestly, it’s part of this whole experience here at band camp. If it wasn’t hot, I don’t think it would be the same,” said the band’s drum major, Sophie Graham.

Scorching temperatures and uncomfortable dew points are something band director Chris Caldwell takes seriously.

“Being out here, it’s a physical activity. So we talk about water breaks, we have talks every day about hydration and nutrition,” he noted.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of heat-related illness can range from headaches to muscle cramps. They say heat-related illness is more common for people who consistently work in a hot environment.

“Our instructors do a really good job of making sure we’re hydrated and that if we’re ever feeling bad, they make sure that we get the help we need,” Rothwell said.

“We have the air-conditioned band room,” added Graham. “Sometimes we’ll go hang out in there if someone is feeling kind of sick or kind of tired and we just chill out for a little bit and that’s really helping.”

All so that the practice of summer, can turn into the performance of fall.

“Even though the conditions weren’t that great, yeah, it is hot. I’m just really proud of everybody that’s pushing through,” said Graham.

“They have an idea of what the program should be and what they want it to be, and they take a lot of pride in that,” noted Caldwell.

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