The Bastrop High School Marching Band held their first practices for the new year this week.

The band is lead by Band Director Gail Griggs and Assistant Band Director Chris Bayless. In recent years the band has been reduced to a much smaller size than in past years. According to Bayless, his and Griggs' goal is to build the band back up.

“We are in the process of rebuilding,” Bayless said. “We are bigger than we were last year, and hopefully, we'll be better than we were last year.”

This year, there are about 30 students signed up for the program.

“We've got a lot of young kids, so for a lot of them this is the first time they've ever done this,” Bayless said. “They have to learn how to use their hands and feet at the same time. We've got a lot of smart kids, so I think they are going to pick it up good.”

Former BHS marching band members who are now in band at Louisiana Tech attended practice to assist the band directors.

“[The students] are doing pretty well,” Tech band student Aneatria Watson said.

Watson explained that for this week's practice, students were learning the fundamentals of marching.

“They are understanding more,” Tech band student Francis Holmes said.

During the practice, students worked on keeping in line, foot work, pivots and being able to respond to the directors commands while in formation.

“They have a lot of determination to work in this heat, as a band should,” Tech band student Carlos Shaw said.