Like sports teams, high school marching bands limit outside practice because of heat

Band camps take extra precautions for heat

jwarren@herald-leader.comJuly 28, 2011 

This week's steamy weather is making outside activity tough, whether you're doing construction work or practicing to march in a high school band.

Lexington's five public high schools are starting their band camps this week, and band directors say they're taking precautions to keep students safe as heat indices climb above 100.

Basically, that means regular water breaks, limiting outdoor activities like marching to the morning hours, and spending afternoons rehearsing indoors where it's cool. Bands may go back outside for more work in the late afternoon, if temperatures fall enough to allow it.

Fayette County Public Schools officials say the bands follow essentially the same rules that the Kentucky High School Athletics Association applies to football practice and other outdoor sports in hot weather. Under those rules, all outside practice is halted if the heat index exceeds 104.

Jeff Bayerle, assistant band director at Henry Clay High School, said band members there practiced outside from 8 a.m. until noon Wednesday — taking water breaks about every 20 minutes — before moving inside for the afternoon. The band has followed that schedule throughout the week, he said.

"We know this is the hottest time of the year, so we pretty much plan for it and work around it," Bayerle said.

Tates Creek Band Director Dee Bishop says band staffs have learned to work within the rules to get in the practice and rehearsal time they need to prepare for the upcoming season.

"Most of the folks in town have been doing it this way for several years, so we've all pretty well adjusted to it," Bishop. "It's kind of morning outside, lunch break, stay inside for the afternoon. The system works pretty well."

Band camps continue through next week.

Reach Jim Warren at (859) 231-3255 or 1-800-950-6397 Ext. 3255.

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