Bradwell Institute’s Tiger Marching Band will add salsa this year as its football halftime shows will feature a new Latin theme.
“We will be playing Spanish music and some Enrique Iglesias. I really like it and it is going to sound good,” Tiger Band Director Jeremy Fermin said, adding that in addition to the regular repertoire, the musicians feature what he calls a fan favorite song for some Friday night performances.
Fermin said this year’s fan favorite will be spectacular.
“This one is a wait-and-see because we are pulling out all the stops,” he said. “We can’t have fireworks per GHSA, but if we could we would have that too.”
Fermin is entering his fourth year as the band director. This past week, the school hosted the annual band camp to prepare for the busy season.
“The first year I got here, it was like turning a corner and this year they are definitely all mine,” Fermin said, explaining how this year’s seniors were freshmen when he arrived. “Our first band camp, at Lewis Frasier Middle School four years ago, feels like a long time ago.”
Back then, Fermin started to rebuild a program that saw its former director leave amid allegations of misconduct. When Fermin, a graduate of Liberty County High School, was hired there was not much of a band left.
He started with roughly 70 band members.
“We have close to 130 so that’s exciting,” Fermin said, adding he’s discussed adding more assistants to his staff with school Principal Scott Carrier.
Fermin said he is gathering data from surrounding counties to present to Carrier since the band has nearly doubled.
Under Fermin’s leadership, the band has earned several accolades, raised funds to buy new uniforms, received a new equipment trailer, won funds that allowed them to buy cymbals and equipment and started competing in the Georgia Marching Band Series.
Last year, the band competed in the GMB Series Championship at Mercer University in Macon and placed fifth.
“We plan to compete in the series again this year, hopefully this year we can be more competitive,” Fermin said, adding that Carrier has been supportive of the band and its requests and efforts. “The kids want to compete and it’s really neat to see them have that competitive drive and really want to kick some tail.”
The members of the Tiger band attended camp from noon until 9 p.m. this past week, working on marching, music, cadence and dance steps. Fermin said he attended graduate school specifically for band directors in Oregon during the summer and since his return he and his wife Claire
Fermin have been busy with music and choreography for this year’s show.
During Thursday’s band session the altos, saxophone, trombone, flute and trumpet players were belting out their saucy version of Iglesias’ hit ‘Bailando.’
The group then played the school’s theme song ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ to perfection before taking a 30 minute lunch break. Afterward the group was headed outdoors to work on formation blocks and movement.
Fermin said he is thankful for all the funds his booster club helped raise, but with the season just weeks away the band could still use funds and equipment to sustain them throughout the year.
He said he spoke with Liberty County School System Chief Operations Officer Jason Rogers who mentioned there might be funds available to both local high school bands through the Education – Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.