Band camp at Proviso East High School is not just about learning the right notes. It’s about learning how to be a leader, how to be disciplined, and how to work together with peers.
“We are trying to change the dynamic of the band as it pertains to leadership and discipline,” said Band Director Cletis Seals Jr. His goal is to develop a well-rounded student. A student who is not only a good musician but also good at academics and athletics. “We are trying to develop leaders who are extremely disciplined.”
Within the last three years, attendance at band camp has gone up by 50 percent. The camp runs for five-and-a-half weeks for four to five hours a day. About 40 students participated in camp this year.
‘’Band camp is not just about learning an instrument. We also make sure that our kids are active.’’ They begin band camp every day with physical training and marching.
Seals graduated from PMSA but says his roots are at Proviso East. “I am a big believer in paying it forward. Proviso East Marching Band led me to my career path.” With that in mind, he hopes to have 90 percent of all band members in the upper grades receiving a scholarship to various colleges and universities for next year.
In regards to this coming school year, he is planning a trip to North Carolina A & T State University and competing in different competitions, locally and nationally. He hopes to increase band membership to 65 to 70 students.
To most East students, band is not just another after-school activity. While talking to squad leaders, they mentioned that band is like a second family to them, and they hope that more students can become a part of the family.