Give Them Props: Boosters, Students Pitch In For New Show
By Todd Kleiboer
Kneeling near a bucket of screws, Sherman High School Senior Calen Woody, better known as “Booker,” picks one out and hands it to a parent of another student, who fastens a wheel to a board.
This was day one of constructing props for the SHS Band’s show this year, and Woody especially took notes on the props’ dimensions.
“I am the loading crew captain this year, and I've been on the loading crew during all of high school,” Woody said. “We are the ones working with these props, getting them to and from the places they go.”
Woody had never helped with prop building before this year, and he was already planning ahead for the loading crew, posting prop photos to the crew’s group chat to discuss potential loading procedures.
“It’s cool to be a part of building what we’re going to be transporting and working with all year long,” Woody said. “Being able to look at these props, seeing how they’re going to move, how we’re going to fit them in different places, it’s all really cool and a lot of fun.”
And these props will be on full display this Friday as the band hosts the Sneak Peek of its 2022-2023 show, “Last Train Home,” on SHS’s Tommy Hudspeth Field. For Director of Bands Ryan Jenkins, this Sneak Peek is a special one.
“This will be the first time since 2019 that I’m here for it, and it’s going to be really emotional,” he said. “It’s such a special time for the kids, too, because they’ve worked for three, three-and-a-half weeks, and then here’s a performance where everyone gets to love them.”
Student involvement in prop building encourages investment in the project, but the band parents, most of whom are boosters, handle the trickier parts of the project. A few students pitch in with building the props’ base, and more students usually decorate the project.
“Students will be the ones who put that final touch on and feel a little more connected to the project,” Jenkins said. “Then they see it out on the field, and there’s a lot of pride to that, knowing they had a piece in that success.”
That pride is self-perpetuating, Jenkins added, as students show off their work and invite others to work on the props as well. Of course, the band directors and parents don’t miss out on the fun.
“It’s been like that forever,” he said. “It’s always parents and kids and directors working hand in hand.”
Jenkins was especially grateful to the support from the SHS Band Boosters, some of whom are new but very energetic. After losing a few longtime boosters last year, Jenkins said he was a bit worried, but parents stepped up.
“It’s an army of willing volunteers who will come in and do just about anything,” he added. Inside the band hall, he motioned toward the parents working on props. “We’ve got parents of freshmen, seniors, color guard, drumline and the winds.”
One such parent present was Mitch Wiggains, Band Booster President. A minister by trade, he grew up learning the woodwork needed for the project.
“There’s a lot of good skills to pick up,” Wiggains said. “It’s great to have the opportunity to let other kids learn this and hone in on it.”
This is Wiggains’ second year as a Band Booster, and he now has an appreciation for just how much work goes on behind the scenes every year.
“Whatever the vision the directors have, we’re trying to make it happen,” Wiggains said. “It’s a lot of creativity and a lot of trial and error.”
With Friday as the show’s debut, the band is sure to put on a wonderful performance as they march onto the field at 7 p.m., and loading crew captain Woody just knows it.
“This year is going to be a good year, I can tell,” he said. “We always have a lot of fun, but this year seems like it’s going to be a good year.”