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Band camp 'boga'.

Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard

It was something to behold. Ninety-two high school students, from as far away as Alaska and California, doing synchronized "boga" on the 50-yardline in massive Autzen Stadium.

That's right, "boga," as in marching band yoga.

At a show for family and friends Saturday, graduates of the University of Oregon's marching band summer camp demonstrated some of the yoga-inspired stretches with which they began each morning of the weeklong camp.

Near the end of the 15-minute demo, the instructor called for "the perfectly extended flying dead fish" pose. Students lay on their bellies, raised their legs, extended their arms behind them and clutched their ankles. They let out groans as the instructor coaxed them to raise their knees and chins higher and higher.

When the students released the pose and began to relax, the instructor intoned: "Visualize yourself at the end of the show. Think about all the skills you've learned, the people you've met, the things you're grateful for, and how you'll take all that back to your home band."

Tyler Kelly, 17, a senior at Canby High School, said he'll be taking back a lot of the marching techniques and leadership skills he learned this summer.

"I'm going to be drum major, and this was great practice for the upcoming season," said Kelly, a trumpet player. As drum major of his high school's 60-member band, Kelly will be helping teach newcomers how to march.

"All the leadership stuff we learned," he said, such as conducting hand signals, "it will really help my band."

Marching band summer camp isn't for wimps.

"A big part of this camp is surviving it," said Steve Ellefson, 16, a junior who plays tenor sax in Marshfield High School's marching band in Coos Bay.

"This is even more work than wrestling camp," he said.

Sports camps tend to have a lot of down time built into the schedule, Ellefson said, but marching band camp is nine hours of work a day. Most of that work must happen in time with the drumline's metronomic beat.

At the end of the day, "you would lay down and you couldn't stop the buzzing in your head," he said.

"It's hypnotizing," added Alex Nauman, one of Ellefson's band mates at Marshfield High.

But the hard work and repetition does yield results, according to campers, their parents and band directors.

"I recommend it to anyone who has a band student," said Elaine Dorman, a self-described "band mom" from Ferndale, Wash.

Dorman said her daughter Monica, who plays the mellophone - a marching band French horn - came home from the camp last summer with many new skills and Monica was eager to enroll again this year.

"They bring the best out of (the kids)," Dorman said. "It's just the best atmosphere."

The marching band camp is one of several summer music camps the University of Oregon has offered for the past 61 years.

The university hosted a concert band camp July 7 to July 12.

Next up is jazz improvisation camp for instrumentalists in junior high and high school, which begins today.
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Title Annotation:Education
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 20, 2008
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