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Bringing the noise

It was drums in stereo to the penultimate degree as bands converged on the front lawn of Ironton High School for warm-up time before this year’s I.H.S. Buckeye Classic.

Then it was on to Tanks Stadium for show time that has players vacillating between butterflies in the stomach and icy cool.

“I’m excited. I’m never really nervous,” Amanda Beam, an eighth grader with the Rock Hill Band. This was the first year for the clarinetist to perform in the marching band at a Classic. Last year she was on the sidelines playing bells.

Skye Barnett, also a Rock Hill eighth grader, didn’t mind at all giving up a sunny Saturday afternoon for the Classic.

“I love the show. It is worth it. Your adrenaline gets running,” Barnett said.

There were 11 bands at this year at the Classic: Southern High from Racine; East High from Sciotoville; Green High from Franklin Furnace; Dawson-Bryant High; Rock Hill; Northwest High from McDermott; South Point High; Greenup County, Ky., High; Hurricane High from Hurricane, W.Va.; Norwood High from Norwood; and the host, Ironton High.

Inside the school IHS Band Boosters put on a feast for the judges, drivers and chaperones with a buffet table laden with homemade vegetable soup, sandwich fixings and homemade pies and brownies.

“We have a little bit of everyone pitching in,” Lori Young, a band mother explained as she guided hungry guests down the line. “The bus drivers have to be here so long. It makes it nice for them.”

In a prominent spot on the table was a floral tribute to the president of the Boosters, Steve Summers, who recently lost his battle with cancer.

“He loved the kids and the kids loved him,” Young said.

Outside on the parking lot of Central Christian Church the green and black uniform-clad musicians of Green High filed out of their buses getting ready for their warm up.

“This is awesome,” Laura Baldridge, a chaperone for one of the buses. This will be the last year for Baldridge’s son, D.J., who has played with the band since eighth grade. “You get to watch all the bands and their difficult routines. It is just awesome.”

Baldridge admits she will miss the competition next year. This will be D.J.’s last year.

“This is my relaxation,” she said. “I just get an enjoyment out of it.”

This was Brad Craft’s fourth time at the Classic, but first as the field commander for the Green High band who gives the musicians all their cues.

“It is a different experience every time,” Craft said. “It’s very exciting. You get an adrenaline rush.”