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Band struts its stuff, too

When the football players leave the field for halftime, the tubas bring out the doo-wop.

"We're kind of the razzle bedazzle," said Philip Bailey, a member of the Plant High School marching band.

They show off with a dance modeled from university bands that Philip started with friends Zack Markel and Brendan Aman, fellow sophomores at Plant.

The shiny tuba bells sashay from side to side over the heads of other band members.

The limelight usually focuses on football players. But this is the band's chance to strut.

"We just go out there and dance for the people," said Zack. "It's a real good feeling."

Saturday, band members will awaken at 4 a.m. to ride to Miami for the state championship game against Ponte Vedra Beach Nease.

Football players aren't the only Plant students honing their skills for the big game.

Last week, Plant's chorus sang The Star-Spangled Banner before the game against Miami's Booker T. Washington.

Sixteen-year-old Kristina White took the last notes an octave higher, showing off her vocal range.

"She loves anything to do with competing or singing," said her mother, Laura White.

And Philip is thinking up ways to spice up the tuba routine even now: Perhaps they will do splits in midair, or don tutus.

"We've put literally 150 to 200 hours into tightening up the show," Zack said.

Clarinet player Esther Nereus, 14, said she loves playing the jazz ensemble Vehicle.

"They work just as hard as the football players," said Lola Marion, whose son J.J. Marion, 18, plays a trumpet solo during halftime.

Band parents put in their share of time, too.

They provide food, coordinate practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays and collect parking fees on game nights.

The $600 for parking brought in during past years when games drew smaller crowds has grown to more than $1,100 per game.

The funds pay for much needed band assistants and new instruments.

Elisabeth Dyer can be reached at edyer@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3321.

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