A musician who has long assisted the Manassas Park High Marching Band in perfecting its precision, moves and music has stepped up as the new director of the band.
Claude D. LeGrand Jr. a Woodbridge High School graduate who hails from the Virginia Tidewater area, will direct the 49-member band during the 2013-2014 school year. He is assisted by Colin Bouchillon.
LeGrand said he came to Manassas Park High in 2003 to teach math and serve as the band's drum line instructor after completing his masters degree at Hampton University, where he was a marching band section leader as an undergraduate and later a band graduate assistant.
He became a music teacher in 2005, after the school division implemented the World Class Music Program which requires every fifth grade student to take a music class, LeGrand said.
LeGrand just wrapped up a one week band camp with his students, saying he was pleased with what was accomplished in that short amount of time. Students stayed at camp from 7 to 1 p.m. with a mid-day break before practice resumed at 5 p.m. Camp was dismissed for the day at 8 p.m. The students concentrated on perfecting their drills under the direction of the Bouchillon, who is an expert in that area, LeGrand said. The music play list for the camp and the coming year was given to the students before school dismissed for the summer so they could practice at home, he added.
The week before band camp, he held a one-week "rookie" camp for students who were new to marching band and needed help with the basic fundamentals.
On Friday, marching band parents were invited to a special performance so the students could showcase what they'd learned so far.
LeGrand said he was on the drum line as a student at Hampton University. Though he is proficient in all band instruments and the bass guitar, he is a self-proclaimed percussionist at heart. Check out the video above of LeGrand making music on the snare drum.