Clover band at threshold of new season

Clover High School marching band members practice their routines, Monday.
Clover High School marching band members practice their routines, Monday.

The state champs are tuning up for a new year.

"We have high expectations," said Eric Wells, now in his fifth year as Clover High School's band director.

Those high expectations are the result of the Blue Eagles band's 2007 season -- when they won the Class 4A state championship awarded by the S.C. Band Directors' Association. York and Fort Mill placed second and third in that contest.

Eighteen band members graduated last spring. With the addition of 45 freshmen, this year's band will be bigger and younger. Despite that challenge, Wells and his designers have come up with a demanding new show.

The production, called "Threshold," is inspired by the art of Swiss/German expressionist Paul Klee, particularly his painting "Viaducts Break Ranks."

"It's about how we're changed as we move through doorways into new spaces," Wells said.

Ten colorful archways will be used to illustrate this as they cross the field and undergo some surprising transformations.

Wells said he prefers nontraditional adaptations of music the audience might recognize, rather than typical band music. The show's music has also been chosen to suit the Threshold concept. The repertoire includes excerpts from Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings," Eric Whitacre's "October," and an adaptation of the hymn "Praise to the Lord" by composer Vaclav Nelhybel.

The band is comprised of 126 students -- 80 in the hornline, 30 drummers and 16 guard.

-- Enquirer-Herald