The Marching Woodmen and Irish Gaurd are known for multiple State championships. This past summer though, director John Morse left GHS and Mr. Ben Werne stepped in. While obviously a shift in leadership is a big change, a lot of effort has gone into making the transition easy for students.
“I’m trying my hardest to make zero changes. Greenwood is very strong on tradition, and I have a lot of respect for that. The band program has been really successful through a lot of directors before me that were obviously doing things the right way. Rather than 160 people adapting to me, I wanted to learn the Greenwood way and keep things the same as possible,” Mr. Ben Werne said.
The kids needed some time to warm up to the idea of a new director, but they are starting to realize that he might have insight that could really help them out.
“I like the new perspectives he’s given us and knowing that were getting advice from someone that’s been looking in on the band from the outside,” sophomore Conner Peckinpaugh said.
Mr. Werne knows what he is good at and knows that his deep musical background and knowledge will help the students.
“I started as a percussionist and was an All-State percussionist all through high school, and then I learned to play the clarinet and I did that in college so I have a master’s degree in clarinet performance, have a good ear, good pitch and I think I’m really good at teaching individual students. Getting them fired up to play,” Mr. Werne said.
While nothing has changed in the way that the band is run and operated, the students have started doing more to warm up their muscles before starting practice.
“We go out before we even start rehearsing, and we do this body warm up to Rocket Man. We also do these things called fundamentals where we line up, we’re really far apart in a block and we just practice the basics.” sophomore Solae Mathis said.
The shows working title right now is Man vs. Machine is totally different from last year. While last year was staged in the far past, this year’s show has robots trying to take over the humans.
“We’re trying to portray technology getting smarter and smarter, and smarter and how that interferes with humans and how they live,” Mr. Werne said.
The plans for this year’s show and how they are preparing for it are no different than they have been in the past.
“It’s been a new kind of year with the new director, and it took the kids some time to warm up in some regards, but most everything has been kept the same. We went to pre band camp before school started, and just the typical practice stuff — nothing out of the ordinary,” Mrs. Lisa Knartzer said.
The First band competition is Saturday September 7th.