High school band gets creative practicing in heat

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- With heat indexes well into the triple digits, schools had to take precautions for protecting students.

Practice has started for fall sports and the marching bands have started working on their routines.

On Monday the heat proved how dangerous it could be after an East High School football player was taken to the hospital for heat-related problems.

The music room at Central High School served as a makeshift football field Tuesday as the room echoed with the sounds of the Mighty Warrior Fight Song.

"We'll be inside for the majority of the day because of the heat," said Ollie Liddell, director of the band.

With it too hot to go outside instructors and musicians had to find another way to practice.

However, they said they were prepared.

"We plan for it, we anticipate temperatures being hot," he explained.

Tuesday morning's marching band practice was held in the gym.

Throughout the day the students played inside, until after 6 p.m. when they went outside to do marching drills.


Just like athletes practicing for fall sports, the rules in the state of Tennessee applied to them too.

They are allowed to practice outside in temperatures between 100 and 104 degrees but any higher and practice is canceled or moved.

"It has to be below 105 heat index so we'll pray it holds," said Liddell with a smile.

One big key of advice the instructors gave to the student:

"To stay hydrated and drink before, drink after, drink when you're at home. Drink water, plenty of water," said Roderick White, assistant director of the band.

The students received frequent breaks, something band members said they took advantage of.

"When it does get super hot we either come in or take a water break," said Kimani Cameron, who plays the trombone.

Band members might not be sprinting down the field but they were forced to carry heavy equipment for long periods of time.

Alex Scott, who plays the tuba, said it's a mental test.

"It gets heavy if you think about it. If you have a clear mindset it's light as air," he explained.

For drum major and class leader Carl Palmer III the heat was just an obstacle to get to the prize.

"They may feel as if it's too hot, but then you talk to them and it gets their mind off the heat and makes it to what we're working hard for and that's a trophy at the end of year," said Palmer.

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