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Friday Band Feature: Robert C. Byrd

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When the band director and members describe the Robert C. Byrd High School Eagles marching band, the word that comes up a lot is "heart."

"We don't have a lot of kids in the band," said drum captain Zac Clevenger, "but every person really tries and does their part."

That's saying a lot for this band. Many of it's members are juggling several activities this time of year.

"We have soccer players, football players," said band director Keith Grubb. "We have cross country people, all competing for time in the fall and the coaches are very flexible and we're flexible as well."

This year's halftime show sounds pretty familiar to anyone who's listened to pop music recently. The student s chose the music for this year's program. It includes "4 Seconds" by Madonna and Justin Timberlake, and other popular songs.

"It's upbeat and it's what every other teenager would want the field show to be," drum major Ronnie Johnson said.

"'Animal' by Neon Trees, and ‘All the Small Things' by Blink 182. We titled the show "MP3 shuffle," Grubb said.

There's even a dance break for most of the band during a drum line solo in "4 Seconds."

"I was really surprised," sophomore Alyssa Allowatt said. "I really like it because it's popular and the crowd really likes it."

Just because the music is popular, doesn't mean it's easy to play, either.

In the challenge of mastering the music and the movements, the RCB band members create bonds that some, like senior Ronnie Johnson, don't want to leave.

"You have fun doing it, and you meet new friends, so it's sad to leave my new friends," Johnson said.

Before that happens, though, the band has a busy schedule of events and halftime shows.

"When the crowd gets pumped up, the band gets pumped up when we all interact together," Grubb said, "They've got energy to feed off of and that could help them win a game."

The Eagles host East Fairmont Friday night. The band will also compete this weekend at the Forest Festival in Elkins.