Destin High Shark band has a wide range of experience, but happy and eager

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

They're small in number, but big in sound. 

The 18 students who make up the Destin High School band are off to a good start and can be heard in the gathering hall before lunch each day. 

“We have one of every instrument and we’re going to rock on that for as long as we can,” said Courtney Noe, Destin High director of bands. “Of course, every year we are going to grow … we just have a starting point.”

Destin High band director Courtney Noe passes out new music for the students during a practice earlier this week.

The interesting part about this group is the diversity, Noe said. 

“I have students who have played every year since the fifth grade,” she said. 

More Destin High news:Destin High sings a song with hiring of new music teacher, Courtney Murie Noe

However, she also has students who have never played an instrument, some are playing a completely different instrument and some who haven’t played in a really long time.  

"I have a few who are in 10th and 11th grade and haven’t played since sixth or seventh grade, they just want to get back in. That’s totally fine with me,” Noe said. “It’s a very diverse range of experience.”

Noe explained the first few weeks is to review and “dust off the cob webs, so we can be rocking and rolling by the end of the semester.” 

The Destin High School band practices daily during class. The band currently has 18 members, but is willing to take on more.

Noe taught several of the students during her stint at Destin Middle School, where she was named the school's Teacher of the Year in 2016. 

“So, I know them and I know their skill level. Some of them I know are good enough to switch and catch up quickly,” she said. 

Finn Martin and Cason Larocque were two who made the switch. 

More Shark news:Destin High School Principal Cruickshank welcomes first class to the Shark Tank

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Martin was a guitar player and Larocque played the euphonium and both were willing to try something new. 

“He said I’ll try whatever you want me to play,” Noe said of Martin. 

They both now sit side by side and play the tuba and are doing quite well. 

“Together they kind of help each other as they learn and feed off that information,” she said. 

Ben Otto, a sophomore, is one of four trombone players in the Destin High School band.

“It’s quite interesting the vast number of levels we have. But we’ll be just fine,” Noe said. “They are so excited. I can teach anyone who is happy.  

“As long as they are happy, we’ll keep trucking … and they are eager,” she added. 

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The end goal for the Destin band this first year is to “find as many opportunities for them to perform and use these skills and to feel successful,” Noe said. 

“I want them to begin it and define what success is,” she said. 

“If it’s one measure at a time great, or 400 measures at a time, great. We’re going to start and every year we’ll add to it. I think we will be huge,” Noe said noting she had 190 students in the band program at Destin Middle.  

Destin High band director Courtney Noe gives Kylianne Winters a few pointers. Winters, a ninth-grader and former Destin Middle School Marlin, plays the clarinet.

For now, she has plans to start a jazz band for some of those who have played a while. 

“Once we get into competition season, which is second semester, we might do some sectionals or extra rehearsals after school for those type of events,” she said. 

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Right now, the band meets during the period right before lunch or as they call it at the Shark Tank, Power Hour. 

And what’s a school without a fight song. 

Noe has been working on putting together a fight song for the band to play. 

Destin High band director Courtney Noe works with the students on a few scales and listening skills.

“I’ve got it down on paper for most instruments, I just have to add the percussion parts,” she said. 

As for the words to the fight song, Noe is leaving it up to the students in her chorus class to come up with the lyrics. 

Noe did give away a few hints as for the sound.  

Joseph Jerzerick and Josh Smith work together on xylophone.

“The music does have a couple of things you might recognize … a little shark theme kind of thrown in there. I love to mix and mold. You might detect a couple of things in certain instruments,” she said. 

If you’d like to join the Shark band, there’s still time. 

“We’re still grabbing folks, it’s not too late. I’ll take whoever wants in,” she said.