Looking past the clique

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In pop culture, "band geek" is a derisive term used to stereotype members of high school marching bands.

Shamekia Brown, 17, and her boyfriend Johnathan Brooks, 18, are both in T.W. Josey High School's maching band. KENDRICK BRINSON/STAFF
Shamekia Brown, 17, and her boyfriend Johnathan Brooks, 18, are both in T.W. Josey High School's maching band. KENDRICK BRINSON/STAFF

But according to Johnathan Brooks, 18, a senior, there aren't any band geeks at T. W. Josey High School.

The equivalent of "band geek" would be "nerd," according to Johnathon's idea of the stereotype, but the typical band member makes good grades while remaining popular.

Those in Josey's marching band are "the coolest people at school," Johnathan said.

And the students who aren't in the band? "They want to be in the band," trombonist Shamekia Brown said.

Shamekia, 17, a junior, is a first-year band member. Her favorite part of being a in the band is playing at the football games and being able to interact with her musical counterparts. Shamekia is also a member of the JROTC, the track team, basketball, softball and cross country teams, but band always comes first with her.

Johnathan has been a member of the Josey band for four years. He has a knack for learning instruments.

"I got tired of trombone and went to trumpet; got tired of trumpet, went to French horn," he said.

The leader of the French horn section joined the band "because it's the best thing to do at Josey, it's all I heard about," he said.

Playing in band will pay off for the senior -- he has auditioned at seven colleges and has been offered several scholarships for his musical talent. He aspires to be a band director.

While it may be cool at be in the band at Josey High, it is hard work. The teens practice from 3-5:30 p.m. every school day, and sometimes on the weekends.

With the exception of a two-week break in the summer, they're marching in formation in the Augusta heat from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. With games and parades on top of the practices, there just is not a lot of time for the teens outside of band and school.

Making time to socialize with non-band members isn't easy, so Shamekia and Johnathan are lucky they hit it off with each other. They have been dating for five months, since the Lucy C. Laney High School football game when he asked her out.

If he wasn't in Josey High's marching band, Johnathan said he would be "a lazy kid doing nothing." He might not have met Shamekia, either.

Reach Kendrick Brinson at (706) 823-3705 or kendrick@augustachronicle.com.

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