The Homewood Patriot Band is a force of sound, of movement, of community, and it’s 375 members strong, with a 68-member drum line driving the energy behind it. After marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year, they are coming off that high into this year’s field show, plus a parade in Disney World to wrap up the season. At the front of it all you’ll see five juniors and seniors on the podiums leading the show. We chatted with Emma Kathryn Compere, Rachel Mau, Hannah Hensarling, Kathryne Sides and Madden Terry during band camp this summer to learn more.
What will we see in this year’s halftime show?
Hannah: We have taken a lot of the music from “Malaguena” and other Spanish-style songs and combined it into a show that is super fun. It’s really lively, a little bit different from our other years at the high school. Typically with our Spanish shows we like to do different dance moves, little side steps to get the Spanish feel.
Madden: Typically with Homewood field shows you can guess there will be some funny little songs that we all know thrown in there by Joey Crittendon who composes all our music. He graduated from Florida State, so you can hear the Florida State fight song in there. Last year we had Alabama and Auburn’s fight songs in there a little bit.
Hannah: We’ve got a new drum rack and more choreography required for drummers than usual. We also have a new bigger and better fly-over, a banner the size of the field connected to sticks that we run out in the finale.
What exactly is the drum major’s role?
Kathryne: It’s the person who stands up on the podium in front of the band and conducts and keeps time. But it’s a lot more than that.
Hannah: We make sure everyone feels included. We help the section leaders with how to lead their sections, and we help out the band directors. We are the connection between the directors and the students.
What makes being in band in Homewood so popular?
Hannah: There’s a camaraderie of being all in this together. It’s really hot outside, but we are going to have fun. We have dress up days for every night of band camp, and it’s a competition and we have a spirit stick.
Rachel: It’s a tradition in Homewood and it’s woven into the culture, especially at the high school. Everyone has made their friends in band.
Kathryne: I don’t think it’s just the high school’s band. It’s the community’s band as well because they look forward to seeing us on Friday night and in the parades. They take pride in watching us.
Emma Kathryn: It starts being inclusive in sixth grade. They want everyone to try an instrument in fifth grade. No matter what else you do in school, they want you to be in the band in high school. A lot of people play football or volleyball or cross country, and they are in the band too.
Madden: It’s never too late to join. Sometimes people join sophomore or junior or senior year.
What makes the Homewood band the Homewood band?
Hannah: It’s our uniforms, our tradition, our big, loud show, our in-your-face music, the Spangles with their sequins up in the front. We’ve had the same look for so many years, but it feels different each time.
Madden: It’s great because a lot of people who grew up in Homewood bring their families back to see the band. You will look through family scrapbooks and yearbooks and see your parents wearing the same uniform that you wore, which makes it really special.
Kathryne: We take up the whole field, so there is always something you can be looking at.
What moment stands out the most from the field show each year?
Emma Kathryn: When the whole band on the field turns around at the start of the show, the sound is so loud.
Madden: My mom is a crier. Every time we turn around and play that big note and Scott Thorne says over the sound system, “The Homewood Patriot Marching Band,” my mom weeps. It also represents how much the community loves that moment. There are people walking in the stadium who pause because they know the big note coming.