OHS Group looks forward to the new year
Sonia Campos, new director of the Odessa high school orchestra, hopes for a successful year.
Having started practicing on July 25, Campos said she has 150 students so far. The summer group will end on Monday with a 13 hour day. The OHS group proves itself in the parking lot of the ISD School Nutrition Department in Ector County.
“We’re really excited that (the) kids are really buying into the system and they’re really committed to showing up and really pushing themselves to improve with every rep,” Campos said.
“I’m really excited to have the level of student engagement. As a new director, you are always afraid of that. It’s something you always have in mind, but it’s definitely been a positive experience so far. We are excited to present them here fairly soon,” she added.
Campos replaces John Mayo who is now retired.
Jimmy Olague, the band’s assistant manager and percussion instructor, remained on the team, and Eric Montgomery, a native of Kentucky, was added.
“He really brings a lot to the table. He’s been in some marching bands in the past and we’re really excited to see what he can bring to us in West Texas,” Campos said.
This is Campos’ first year leading a high school band. She was previously at Crockett Middle School.
Their theme this year is “Red”, a Latin tour around the world.
“It’s just different. … The whole marching band aspect, sure, but it’s more about dealing with older students. They really aren’t that different from college kids. They want lots of advice; they want a lot of support and I’m ready to give it to them, so I’m excited to see what we can do,” Campos said.
She added that she expects 50 to 100 students to join once the school year begins.
“Many of our students are traveling during this period and as the new director I haven’t had much time to send information or have contact details for all of our students. … I think next school year we will definitely see an (increase) in the number of our summer groups. I’m really excited about it because we just need everyone here… to learn what we need to learn together,” Campos said.
The first OHS football game will be at home on August 26 against Lubbock Monterrey.
“We still have time to adapt, to get to know each other, to meet each other and to start trusting each other. You have to build those relationships and we do that very well. Our students, as I said, have…worked hard. … They try to absorb all the new information and they really buy into the new form of walking. We are doing straight leg walking this school year. The kids are really learning, especially my upper class students, who are used to something different. They’ve really committed and really bought into the system, so we’re really excited about that. We’re building quite a bit of fundamentals right now and it’s definitely paying off as our sound gets bigger and bigger…” she added.
With straight-leg walking, you shouldn’t see bent legs as the musicians walk forward, Campos said.
“We are really excited to put this on the table. It’s just a different shape and it’s something that’s widely used across the state of Texas in competitive marching bands,” she added.
This is a state OHS competition year.
“State is always something all bands want to do. My philosophy is to build the whole student through music education. If we do our job here in every practice, we should be rewarded with some really great opportunities. , and we hope this state will be part of it,” she added.
Seventeen-year-old Aaron Ramirez is a drum major. He has been with the group since sixth grade.
“I really like being in my leadership position. I like helping people and I like seeing what’s going on; seeing a problem we have in the group and being able to fix it,” Ramirez said.
He added that there has been a lot of change in the group this year.
“But a lot of it is a good change. I really think we’re going to improve a lot this year and a lot of those changes are for the better,” Ramirez said.
He added that he felt the group would improve as the year progressed.
Dianey Salgado, a 17-year-old senior, is the trumpet section leader. She has been with the group for seven years.
Salgado said she thought Campos was a good motivator.
“…We are definitely a lot fewer than in the past two years, but the quantity doesn’t matter; it’s more…the quality of the band,” she said.
Connecting with her section is one of the things she loves about the group.
But, “Games are one of my favorite things.”
“I like to be busy, so having that distraction for me is something really amazing for me,” Salgado said.