The Elkins High School Marching Band is arguably a greater attraction than the events where they perform.
With 120 members consisting of 18 flutists, 17 clarinetists, 12 alto saxophonists, 13 trumpeters, two mellophone players, three trombonists, three tenor saxophonists, two base clarinetists, one baritone player, one tuba player, a drumline of 20 people, a pit percussion of 15 people, one drum major and two band managers, the Fighting Tigers create a substantial sound.
Director of Bands Jeff Caplinger has been working with the program for around seven years at his alma mater where he played trumpet and was the drum major until he graduated in 1981.
(CU and The Inter-Mountain/
HORNS — Jayson Hamrick, left, and Tim Riddle practice in the brass section.
When asked what has changed since he was part of the band, Caplinger was quick to respond on a multitude of things that had taken place over the years.
"Since I was part of the band, quite a few things have changed including the beat, which has slowed to 135. The music performed now is much more artistic compared to when we performed showtunes. What stands out the most is we are no longer a show band but a competition band," Caplinger said.
Caplinger has chosen a theme for this season called "Electronica: Music of the Future," which consists of three movements titled "Wave Forms," "Harmonic Synthesis" and "Electroshock."
EHS?Band by the numbers
"'Electronica' music portrays future as it could be with glimpses of cloning and androids. To make our point more clearly, the pit percussion and color guard will wear futuristic costumes," Caplinger said.
The Fighting Tigers Web site spiritofthemountains.org further describes the performance: "'Electronica: Music of the Future' explores the connection that electronic music has in our lives of today and the distant future. It is a modernistic essay ripe with spectacular visual and musical adventures that will take you to a new place. A place where music and technology are intertwined leading to a new generation of intelligent machines capable of taking on multiple tasks and moving out of the factory into the home and general workplace. The boundaries between man and machine have disappeared. The human experience is marked by a refusal to obey our limitations. This brave new world is explored in a journey through music, technology and groove!"
All three movements in "Electronica: Music of the Future" can be listened to on the band's Web page.
Three weeks into band camp, the Fighting Tigers are practicing the first movement "Wave Forms" in preparation of the upcoming band season and the all important Tournament of Bands, a competition encompassing nine states and consisting of 13 chapters with 350 bands. Competing states other than West Virginia include Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.
The first performance for the Fighting Tigers will be at the Elkins Area Bands Auxiliary Corn Roast in Elkins City Park on Aug. 22.
Caplinger and the Fighting Tigers have their eyes firmly set on Sept. 12 when the Western Tournament of Bands Evaluation Contest will be conducted in Wymer Stadium. Nine other bands will attend the evaluation along with the guest band from Shepherd University.
The evaluation based on all aspects of the band will decide whether the Fighting Tigers will move on to the next step in the tournament.
"We have outstanding chances," Caplinger said.
The past two years the Fighting Tigers have made it to the finals in Hershey, Pa., and Caplinger expects to place even higher than the year before.
Caplinger is confident in the upcoming season, has praised his band and pushed them on toward perfection.
"We have a dedicated and diverse group of kids that are a combination of newcomers and experienced performers," Caplinger said.
When the Fighting Tigers perform the show "Electronica: Music of the Future" they will undoubtedly create a big sound.
For a full list of future events where the Elkins High School band will perform, visit spiritofthemountains.org.