This Is Carolina: The Pride of St. James Marching Band

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 8:18 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) -The halls of St. James High School are alive with the sound of music, as more than 70 students practice perfecting their craft at band camp.

It’s a friendly battle of the beats between brass, woodwinds, percussion and color guard, that form the Pride of St. James Marching Band. The sweet sounds are easy to produce for these kids, like for one dynamic duo who play in the same section.

“She likes to call me names and embarrass me, but that’s why I love her,” said senior Luke Propst.

The friendly banter between siblings is just that.

The two work with each other to strive for excellence. Propst made all national for his baritone skills, while his sister, freshman Joelie, made first chair All-State last year for playing the tuba. It’s an instrument she fell in love with thanks to the VeggieTales theme song.

Both said they enjoy what band camp has to offer.

“It’s a fun experience. You get to meet a lot of different people that you really wouldn’t meet if you’re not in band,” said Joelie.

“Everything that goes on in the world isn’t happening when you’re in the band. You’re just a big fat family,” added Luke.

A family that plays hard and works hard for nine hours a day, which includes team building and a jam session with the band boosters, which is the school’s athletic booster club.

Band Booster President Jennifer Sierra-Quick has fine-tuned the art of sandwich making. She and the other parents feed students, staff and volunteers every day for the two-week-long camp.

“It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. We take any and all hands that we can get,” said Sierra-Quick.

The booster president knows that hard work pays off because she was a former band kid herself.

Sierra-Quick believes parents would benefit from working behind the scenes at the games and the competitions because not only is it fun, it’s rewarding to see your child succeed.

“The work is not easy but to be able to have them here and to see the transition and progress, and be able to see the end result,” she said.

It’s not just music that strikes a strike with Clinton Patton. The brass technician said it’s the chance to hone his students’ talent and uplift their self-esteem.

“These kids are so unique in every sense of the word. I think the most unique kids you’ll find are in the arts, just because we really preach individuality to create the whole organism,” he said.

Patton said he works to intertwine melody with morale and loves his job because he knows he’s not alone.

“It’s really great to be able to be a part of a group of people who want to do everything they can to make someone else better,” he said. “They’re producing something together as individuals, coming together to produce something amazing, and putting out such beautiful sound.”

You can catch the Pride of St. James Marching Band on Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m., when the Sharks football team takes on Waccamaw.

If you’d like to share some good news, email or message Loren Korn on Facebook.

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