ELKO – Colorful flags and heart-pounding drums filled the eyes and ears of children at local schools during a tour this week by Elko High School’s Band of Indians.
Led by band director Michael Broyles, the assemblies featured the winter color guard and drumline teams to get younger grades thinking about joining the band in middle school or high school.
“This is one of the biggest things we do for the community and for recruiting in our own program,” said Broyles.
The tour started March 12 at Southside with the teams performing in two assemblies for more than 600 students. Other assemblies were at Grammar No. 2, Northside Elementary and Adobe Middle School.
In the first assembly, Broyles encouraged the pre-kindergarten, first- and second-graders to cheer and clap.
“They can be as loud as they want and we’ll be louder than them,” Broyles said.
The color guard kicked off the assembly with a routine followed by a brief demonstration of the unique instruments they use in their performance.
“They’re dancers and artists,” Broyles explained to the children at the start of the assembly. “They use flags, rifles and sabers … which are more for decoration. They dance with them to the music.”
Later, students were given a brief lesson in keeping time with their hands and introduced to the types of drums and percussion instruments used in the drumline.
Planting seeds of musical interest will hopefully encourage future band members, said Carrie Gregory, vice principal at Southside.
“It gives them a chance to see instruments they may not get a chance to see,” Gregory said. “It puts a little bug in their ear when they get to fifth grade and want to try it.”
The visit to Southside is the second one in two years for Broyles, whose wife, Aubrey, also teaches music at the school. This year, the band expanded their tour to include the other schools.
Broyles called it “a joy” to visit his wife’s school in an assembly. “This is one of the busiest times of year, so it is a lot, but it’s all fun.”
The assemblies come within the winter color guards and drumline’s competitive season. On Saturday, the drumline took first place in a Reno competition for the first time.
“We’re very excited and glad to be steadily improving over time with the best still to come,” Broyles said.
The remainder of the school year will be equally as hectic as the band prepares for a regional music festival set for March 25 and 26 at the Elko Convention Center, featuring bands from Ely, Jackpot, West Wendover and Winnemucca.
In April, after all-state band, the marching band will travel to the Virginia International Music Festival. The school year will wind down with the spring concert May 7, followed by Jazz Fest on May 14.