West band ready for the fight


Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp


Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp


Joseph Pratt | Daily Times The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp.


Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp


By Joseph Pratt

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Students at Portsmouth West Junior High and High School are out marching in the sun, practicing in the band room, and learning the many technical aspects of marching band this week, as they prepare for the fall season during their annual summer band camp.

The students are under new direction this year, with Ryan Ervin taking over as band director after the retirement of Director Mike Pierce last year. Ervin is a graduate of Northwest High School and Morehead State University. The director said that he is happy to be back, near the river and surrounded by hills, after spending years traveling for work.

The musician had spent many years as a professional trumpet player, where he directed and performed for ocean cruises through Caribbean Cruise, and more recently played for the international tour of Broadway’s “The Lion King.”

Ervin said that he will be keeping most of the band’s previous traditions intact and will be preparing the students for competitions. The school will also be hosting its annual marching band competition, which draws in many local high school bands.

“We are still going to be a competition band and we have many competitions on the schedule for the upcoming year,” Ervin said. “We will continue our hosted competition as well, which will fall on Sept. 26.”

Ervin said that he feels like he is sliding back into education smoothly, with a strong band and students who are working hard for the upcoming marching season.

“We have a great group of kids who are working hard and dedicating themselves completely to the show,” Ervin said. “I’m also glad to be teaching again, on a beautiful campus that is right along the river and the hillsides.”

The marching band is preparing a show centered around the scores of the classic boxing film series “Rocky.”

“It is perfect timing, because there is a new ‘Rocky’ movie coming out soon called ‘Creed,’” Ervin said. “The kids are really enjoying it and the show was customized specifically for this group, so it highlights their strengths. It also helps us work on things we need to improve on. The kids are just doing really well on it.”

The band will line up at the football field for the first time of the season on Aug. 28, when the football team plays against Newark Catholic at home.

The administration has expressed support of Ervin and is looking forward to what his experience will bring to the band

“We are very excited to have Ryan here,” Superintendent Jeff Stricklett said. “He has a lot of experience that he is bringing to our school and we are excited to see the students learn from him. They have been practicing very hard and it seems the students and staff are all very excited for the music program this year.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03

Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_n.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp

Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_k.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp

Joseph Pratt | Daily Times The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_l.jpgJoseph Pratt | Daily Times The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp.

Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/web1_m.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The West Portsmouth Marching Band practicing during band camp
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