Oak Ridge Band Honors Seniors and Their Parents

Photo courtesy of Chuck Briese

Last Friday night, before the football game vs. Bryan at Woodforest Stadium, the Oak High School Band honored the Senior Class and their parents. They pretty much have to honor the parents after all those folks have been through over the past seven or eight years: those oh-so-glorious middle school band concerts, the cost or purchasing and maintaining instruments, band camp, band trips, early morning band practice, volunteer work with the band, fundraising that seems to go on forever, and the joy of listening to one’s child learn a new instrument.

Without band parents, ORHS would not have an award-winning band. They deserve any accolades they can grab. If you missed it, here are some pictures of last Friday night’s festivities.  

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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In the Spotlight: Liberty Belles

As evidenced during halftime at every football game, Oak Ridge has some of the most talented Band, Color Guard and Dance performers. The latter group are known as the Liberty Belles and they are as much a part of Oak Ridge’s history as the football team. The Liberty Belles are this week’s group that is IN THE SPOTLIGHT.

The following Q and A with the Liberty Bells director, Rebecca Barber will describe to you all you will ever need to know about the Belles and just how storied a past they do have.

How Many Liberty Belles are there?
The Liberty Belles Dance Team currently has 60 members ranging from freshman to seniors. The Directors are Rebecca Barber and April Dickerman. Many ladies come to us with prior dance training while many others begin dancing with the Belles. Each senior that has graduated from the Liberty Belles has been awarded a scholarship to help her with her future education. Tryouts are held in April each year for the upcoming year’s team.

Can you tell me how many hours you all put into a week to perform so good at the football games?
The Liberty Belles work year round taking a few weeks off in July. Our year is blocked into four seasons: camps/training, football/pep rallies, competition & spring show/tryouts. The Liberty Belles have a class period that meets every other day during school. We also practice daily after school for two hours.

Describe a practice:
In the fall, on a normal day we begin with a conditioning routine and then move into either learning new material or polishing and perfecting current material.

During football season, we spend at least two afternoons on the field working spacing for the games and one day a week with the band practicing with live music.

What is the History of the L-Belles? When they started, etc…
The Liberty Belles were the first organization formed at ORHS. They held tryouts in April of 1981 to form the team for the opening of ORHS in the fall of 1981.

The original director was Cathy Arellano. We have had five directors throughout the years. I have been the director for 16 years. I was an original Liberty Belle under Cathy Arellano. The current Assistant Director is April Dickerman who is also a Math teacher and Mu Alpha Theta sponsor at ORHS.

Do the Liberty Belles do any community service?
W
e do a philanthropy project every winter as well as providing assistance when asked other times throughout the year.

How many girls perform? Does everyone perform every week or do you have a cut list every week?
We audition for every performance but my goal is to dance as many as possible as often as possible.We often create our material with various groups to accommodate the various skill levels within the team.

Tell us a little info about yourself, such as what do you teach, how long you have been at Oak Ridge, where before that, dance history, family, etc…
In addition to directing the Liberty Belles, I teach the Dance classes at ORHS.

I teach five classes and have over 150 students. I am an ORHS alum and attended Sam Houston State University. I have a BFA in Dance and was on the Dance Company at SHSU. I taught one year in HISD where I started the dance program at Lee HS. My dream was to be at ORHS and I love being here. My family still lives here. All my siblings went to ORHS and now our children are in ORHS feeder schools. I am lucky to be able to have my niece currently on the team creating a second generation of Liberty Belles in our family. My husband is a teacher at ORHS in the Technology Dept. We have two sons, Ray and Jake. Ray is a second grader at Houser and Jake is in the Pre-school program at ORHS.

Where do you get your routines? Do you choreograph it all yourself?
We choreograph most of the dances we do. I work with the officers to create our material. Some of our football routines are based on material we learn at summer camp. Occasionally, I bring in guest choreographers during competition season so that the team can experience new styles and influences.

How do you all raise money for uniforms, equipment, etc… ?
We have a wonderful booster club that raises most of our funds. We do some fundraising with the team and the district provides a small amount each year.

The Boosters run a concession at the Pavillion and we host a large competition each year that raises money for us and we also have sponsors. The parents work hard all year to provide for the team.

There are many clubs at all of the schools in the ORHS feeder zone. We plan on educating you on most of them, including the group that feeds into the Liberty Belles, the Liberty Babes at York.

If you have a group you would like to see in the spotlight, please let us know.

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com.

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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Photos From Friday’s 44-14 Win Over Bellaire

The Oak Ridge War Eagles varsity rolled past Bellaire Friday night at Delmar Stadium 44-14. Here are some photos from the game:

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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Photos from Friday’s Win Over Dawson

Liberty BellesThe Oak Ridge War Eagles beat Pearland Dawson 38-21 Friday night. Here are some photos from the game:

Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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