As the Dallastown Area marching band finished the final notes of Owl City's "Umbrella Beach" Wednesday morning, band director James Dougert called out from his perch on the drum major's podium.
"Not too bad for the first time through," he said of the practice for the band's fifth musical number and closer of the field show. "Do it one more time. My favorite word, 'One more time.'"
The upcoming school year is just days away for York County districts, and many campuses are marked with the meticulous choreographed steps of marching bands practicing in parking lots, new turf fields and grass lots behind schools.
Dallastown's field show is designed to be an alternative rock show, featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Higher Ground," followed with pieces by fun., Radiohead, American Authors and Owl City.
Drum majors: Senior Mary Eckert is leading the band as drum major for a second year, this year as the lead drum major of four students. For Eckert, a clarinet player, the leadership involved with the role and seeing the pieces come together are the best parts of being drum major.
"You can bring something out of nothing," she said of the students' work to create the show.
Mary and fellow drum majors Liz DiBiase, David Fowler and Emily Seiser will be the first group to conduct the field show on the district's new turf field, a feature Mary said will be a bonus when the band moves from the parking lot practice area to the field because of its smooth surface.
The band knows the music and steps for all of the pieces, Dougert said, but will spend the last two days of band camp practicing its entrance and exit for the field show, getting used to the surface and perfecting the routines.
Mary said counting on the level field surface will help novice band members with the steps, because transitioning from the parking lot practice field to the grass is tough each year. With the new turf, Dougert agreed, weather and divots in the ground won't be as much of a factor.
"You don't lose your dinkles (band shoes) in the mud," he said.
At York Suburban: Despite being kept inside for Tuesday's practice because of rain, York Suburban band director Matthew Husler said the band's "Childhood Remembered" show is going well. The band will perform three pieces in its field show in "a reflection of childhood itself," Husler said, including songs used at Disney parks, a lullaby and a medley of popular children's songs such as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
Drum major Winter Ryan, a senior who plays the drums and baritone saxophone, said he enjoys the leadership aspects of the role and the interaction between band members.
Band president Breah Koller, also a senior, said she enjoys the camaraderie, especially between students of different grade levels. Breah said she hopes to study music in college, and being in band is good preparation.
"I just love being in band because music is my thing," she said. For the upcoming season, the clarinet player said she's most looking forward to "stands tunes,'' the classic band songs played in the bleachers during football games.
Dover finished: Other bands in the area have since finished their camps, including Dover's marching band. Dover's "Flashback Friday" show will include classic '80s numbers, said director George Bradshaw.
One of the band's favorite numbers is "You Can Call Me Al," by Paul Simon, Bradshaw said, because of the intricate footwork and horn movements.
As the director and music teacher, Bradshaw said, the best part of any band camp is seeing students' progress.
"They take the notes on a page and just bring it to life," he said.
York bands will continue gearing up for their first performances of the year, likely Aug. 29 around York County.
Playing in front of cheering parents and fans is what it's all about, Mary said.
"It's a huge rush," she said.