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Band camp

The VSU Trojan Explosion works for its showmanship and sound

8/11/2017, 12:12 p.m.
It is 5:45 a.m. and the early August sun is beginning to rise over the Appomattox River. Just north upon ...
Eshauna Parrish-Foster, a sophomore from Chesterfield County, is the section leader for the mellophones and trumpets in the marching band. Regina H. Boone/Richmond Free Press

“I just love the vibe and being around people that love the same thing I do,” said Ms. Green.

During twice daily sectional rehearsals, band members work to cultivate the Trojan Explosion sound. Drums, flutes, trumpets, clarinets and others go off to practice together for 90 minutes to 2 hours at a time.

“It gives them enough time to work on their music, notes, their tonality and articulations,” said Mr. Holden. He said the sectional rehearsals save time overall because it alleviates the need to constantly stop during full band rehearsal to fix minor quirks.

Drum major DeSean “Mr. B.” Bartholomeo, takes charge in rehearsal like he will on the football field during the Trojan Explosion performances.

Drum major DeSean “Mr. B.” Bartholomeo, takes charge in rehearsal like he will on the football field during the Trojan Explosion performances.

Taylor McClenny, a senior from Chesterfield County, and her five fellow tuba players undergo breathing exercises during a sectional practice. Rigorous calisthenics are part of the training to prepare band members for the season.

Taylor McClenny, a senior from Chesterfield County, and her five fellow tuba players undergo breathing exercises during a sectional practice. Rigorous calisthenics are part of the training to prepare band members for the season.

The time spent together forges strong ties between band members, regardless of whether they are instrumentalists or the other performers — the Essence of Troy dancers, the Satin Diva flaggers and the Troy Elegance twirlers.

“The Trojan Explosion is a family that will love and follow you forever,” said Teiah Poole, a second-year twirler and sophomore majoring in psychology.

The lifelong bonds are real, said Maurice Jones, the band’s operations director, who was the trombone section leader when he was an undergraduate student at VSU.

“My closest friends, my cohorts, who I stay in contact with even to this day, I met right here,” said Mr. Jones, as the bold sounds of brass filled Davis Hall.

Dedication. Showmanship. Vision. Those are three characteristics all Trojan Explosion members must have, he said.

“Aside from the (VSU student) Gospel Chorale, we are the No. 1 representatives of Virginia State University,” Mr. Jones said.