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Band camp: Week one for NHS

Stacey Hartley • Jul 26, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Week one of camp is nearing its close for the Norwalk High School marching band.

The 110-student group is directed by Will Kish, who’s been at NHS since 1999.

“I came here right out of college, so (my) first job — only job. I left for two years (from 2006 to 2008) to get my master’s at Kent. … But other than that I have been here,” said Kish, who also teaches music appreciation and a College Credit Plus class through Bowling Green State University.

The director was asked what makes the Blue Pride band special.

“We have a good group of kids here. We have a good community. … (A) lot of support,” said Kish, who looks forward to starting the season. “(A) really strong group of kids.”

In the band are seniors Abigail Gfell and Ben Penrose and sophomore Sierra Zurcher.

Penrose, the 17-year-old son of Shane and Vicki, plays the tuba. He has been playing for seven years.

Since joining the band in the sixth grade, Penrose said the most rewarding part “isn’t even just … the playing or anything like that.”

“It’s more just the friends you make and the really cool memories you make.”

For Gfell — whose parents are Steve and Nancy — taking up the clarinet was an inspired decision. Her grandfather, William McGraw, played the woodwind instrument when he was a student at NHS.

“No one else in my family does this sort of thing,” said the 17-year-old girl.

Gfell was asked what she has taken away from her time in band. She said being a leader and helping other members “be the best that they can be” are important parts of the experience.

Her attitude seems to be shared by her fellow band members; 15-year-old Zurcher said compassion is one of the best things about being in the group.

“The people (who) teach you really care about you and they put in their time and they really, really care,” said the sophomore who twirls and plays both the trumpet and bassoon. 

Also, the daughter of Donnie and Miranda said there’s a lot of positivity within the band.

“I was excited to come here today,” she added. 

Camp will resume for the marching band in two weeks.

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