Yellow Jackets hit the road with drum and bugle corps _lowres

Photo provided by ELisa Richard -- Denham Springs High School band students Jensen Granier, left, and Vincent Ton participated in the Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps in Lafayette this summer.

Two Denham Springs High School band students challenged themselves during the summer by participating in the Lafayette-based Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps.

Vincent Ton and Jensen Granier traveled to Lafayette on weekends and during a summer camp for intense practices and took part in a competition schedule that brought them to other states in July.

Ton and Grainer moved into the dorms at University of Louisiana at Lafayette on June 19 for a two-week camp. Ton said the practice sessions were “really hot and humid, but we were fortunate to have a turf field and UL dorms to stay in, as most of the top 12 world-class corps don’t have a turf field or dorms to sleep in during camp; they get dirt fields and sleep on gym floors.”

The campers got a day off for July 4 and started the out-of-state tour on July 5.

The first destination was an 18-hour drive to Fort Wayne, Indiana. While traveling, members were assigned various duties, which ranged from cleaning the gym areas and bathrooms, to loading and unloading equipment and luggage, to the distribution of and cleanup after meals.

The travel schedule and hours on the road were harsh. Members were afforded little physical space on the buses among all of the luggage and items necessary for performances, and sometimes arrived at their destinations as early as 3 a.m.

After the tour, the duo took part in a performance in Lafayette.

Ton called the experience rewarding and memorable.

“Words simply cannot do justice to the feelings we have toward the experience of traveling with the La. Stars; we made lifelong friends, memories, experiences, and left a mark on the Louisiana Stars Drum and Bugle Corps for years down the line,” Ton said.