The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

Hudson Woods throws his arms out after a play before getting into position
Hudson Woods climbs to new heights after standout sophomore season
Jonathan Jones, Sports Writer • May 18, 2024
Joshua Velasquez committed to serving his country in the U.S. Army.
Beyond basic
Margaret Edmonson, Adviser • May 17, 2024
Sydney Rakowitz will study education and training and music at the University of Incarnate Word.
Seniors sign to continue athletic, non-athletic careers
Valley Ventana, Staff • May 16, 2024
Boy Scouts of America announced on May 7 the organizations name will change to Scouting America on the organizations 115th birthday Feb. 8, 2025. Photo by JV via
Boy Scouts changing name after 115 years
Grayson Cook, Staff writer • May 15, 2024
The top 15 students in the senior class receive special recognition at graduation on May 22 due to their hard work throughout high school. 
Graphic by Alex Whelchel via Canva
Profile: Top 15 seniors
Alex Whelchel, Managing Editor • May 13, 2024

From summer band to stadium lights

Lessons learned in early days of marching season pay off at halftime, contests
Olivia Ingram
Sophomore Nolan Wilson adds his voice to the performance of The Voices Within during a halftime performance on Sept. 15 at Ranger Stadium.

 Sophomore trumpet player Salmiya Lawson feels the pressure as she takes the field on Friday night with the blinding stadium lights and roaring crowd.

“I have to do really good, and I have to do everything perfectly, and that’s where summer band becomes worth it,” she said.

These little “voices” and the lessons learned from summer practice come as the band presents its 2023 marching show, “The Voices Within,” for halftime shows and competitions. The band went to the district competition on Oct. 14, earning a perfect score with a Division I and sending the musicians to area on Oct. 28.

“I personally enjoy summer band,” sophomore trombone player Nolan Wilson said. “I mean the time could be a little shorter but it’s great to start off the season. It might start off long in the beginning, but when competitions come in you realize why you’re doing this.”

 A lot of background work that is not seen  includes three weeks of summer practice. Each day consists of arriving at the school at 7 a.m., marching on the black top and practicing fundamentals for four hours. Then the band goes inside to eat lunch and split off into sections to focus on music until dismissal at 4 p.m. Then rinse and repeat. 

“Summer band can get frustrating because it’s a really long day but at the end of the day I get to connect with my section and the freshmen,” Lawson said. It’s the hours we put in that makes summer band hard and don’t forget about the heat,” Lawson said.

Despite the work, students bond over a common interest and build a community around the band.

 Even freshmen gain familiar friends before school starts.

“I like the company of the people in marching band it’s where I found my type of people,” Wilson said. “I think marching band is a great way to connect with new people from summer band to football games playing fun songs in the stands.”

“Man, I’ve learned so many life lessons from marching band, but if I chose one it would be that you are more capable than we realize,” director Scott Duncan said. “We can do anything we set our mind to. We just have to put ourselves in that mindset.” 


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