WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Preseason football normally gets all of the attention in August. But Michael Magruder reminds us that this month is also practice time for marching bands.
"I've been doing it for so long that I look forward to this time of the year," said Magruder. "It just burns in me to get the students together and start preparing them for the next season."
Margruder is entering his 40th year as Winston-Salem State University's "Red Sea of Sound" Band Director. So, he knows how to take an average August rhythm and turn it into a supreme September sound.
"They have to come prepared," Magruder said. "We call the organization a paramilitary organization. We want soldiers."
An army composed of band, dance line and flag line members that pay close attention to the smallest detail. Keshawna Caldwell-Hines is a member of the Scarlet Lace Dance Line. She is ready to put in the preseason work.
"Most definitely. Magruder presses that a lot," said Caldwell-Hines. "He expects everyone to be on top of their game."
Kadaisha Hargrove is a member of the Silky Smooth Flag Line. Sometimes she has a hard time explaining why the team practices all day and night.
"My friends say all of the time 'I don't know how you guys do it.' It's a lot of work," said Hargrove. "But it's the passion that keeps me going and everyone else in the band going. You wouldn't do it you weren't passionate about it."
Magruder sees the passion for the music and the desire to be great paying off for the band.
"It takes practice and we have to do it over and over until the finer details have been worked out," Magruder said.
Helping the 130 member "Red Sea of Sound" Marching Band iron out the wrinkles is Head Drum Major Muhammed Clemons.
"I've never been the type to give up and none of these people in here...they won't give up either," said Clemons.
The band is a tight family. They lift each other so the "Red Sea of Sound" can fill football stadiums this season.
"All of these students will probably tell you that's exactly what we are trying to bring to the table, a family atmosphere, lifelong friendships," explained Magruder. "This is the kind of thing we look forward to doing every year with the band program.