Hernando High School Band takes precautions in extreme heat

HERNANDO, Miss. -- The sticky, sweltering temperatures seeping into the Mid-South are forcing everyone to get creative when it comes to coping with outdoor activities, including high school bands.

Students from Hernando High in DeSoto County are in band camp, gearing up for the year ahead.

School officials, parents and the musicians themselves are doing everything they can to make sure they are safe.

Despite scorching temperatures on Wednesday, the beat goes on, the flags still twirl and the band keeps playing.

Drum majors Andres Liberato and Ashley Mathews know the drill for back-to-school band camp.

"We’re used to it and we enjoy it very much, it’s one of our passions," said Liberato.

They have made some adjustments.

They only practice outside in the morning. Around lunchtime this week and next week, you can find them either practicing in the shade or inside with air conditioning.

"We haven’t been outside a whole lot just because it’s so hot. We try to get it in early and then we try to do it inside for the rest of the day when the heat index gets up there pretty high," explained Principal Duane Case.

In the bleachers and right by students when they practice, there are half-gallon to gallon water jugs.

If the mercury climbs to more than 90 degrees, students take long water breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.

"But we do what we call gush and gos that we do probably every 10 minutes.  So they run off to the sidelines, they get water and then they get back in their spot," explained Band Director Len Killough.

With heavy instruments, long days and the heat, being part of this award-winning band is no easy task.

But Mathews says it’s all worth it.

"As it progresses you start to enjoy it. You start to see how a family builds and how everyone gets along and it’s just like a really nice thing to have," she said.

There are also a lot of parents that help out. They are at the band camp providing snacks and water.

The director said a few of the parents are also nurses, so they're on hand in case anything happens as well.