Bruce and Calhoun City bands’ performances promise to be a “Thriller”

The Bruce and Calhoun City high school bands are hard at work turning their 2012 performances into "Thrillers."

Drum Majors Jasmin Feliciano and Gayson Denley

Among the biggest thrills for Bruce Band Director Jon Bland is his numbers. The Trojans have over 90 kids marching in the band this year, a dramatic increase from just over 40 last year.

"I think we may be the largest 2A band in the state," Bland said. "We have 56 beginners, so if just half of those stick with us we'll be up to 110 to 120 next year."

Bland said the increase in band members has posed some challenges, but they are adjusting.

"The kids are working extremely hard," Bland said. "It's a lot to get done. It's twice as much of everything, but once we get our entire show on the field it's going to be sharp."

The Bruce band's show will be a horror theme entitled "Night Terrors." The music will include "Monster" by Skillet, "Creep" by Radiohead, and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"We've got some additional parts of the show that will be a lot of fun," Bland said.

Grayson Denley returns as drum major.

"It helps with these numbers to have somebody like Grayson who can help me with everything," Bland said.

Denley is one of eight seniors in the band. The other seven are Rebecca McCord, Canon Benefield , Myranda Bennett, Span Ingram, Khaina Williams, Starnisha Gladney and Keyonia McGuirt.

The fast growth has put a new emphasis on fundraising for band members, as there are not enough uniforms to go around. The band is currently working on their annual calendar and selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts as fundraisers.

Bruce won't be the only place you can dance to "Thriller." The Calhoun City band's 2012 show features Michael Jackson's music with a "Thriller" finale.

"I think it's a show the crowd will enjoy and the students will get into," 'City Band Director C.J. Gusmus. "I believe it's a competitive show that will be crowd pleasing at the same time."

Gusmus said the Wildcats have 34 members in the band this year, led once again by drum major Jasmin Feliciano.

"She's done a great job and gives us that senior leadership," Gusmus said.

Feliciano is one of four seniors in the Calhoun City band – Jacqueline Hamilton, Tiera Gunn and Brandon Grimes.

"We're all working hard, excited about performing," Gusmus said.

The first contest is Sept. 29 at Aberdeen and then in Grenada two weeks later.

"We're working to get ready for that and then hopefully qualify for the state championships again," Gusmus said.