BRADENTON – 130. That’s the number of students participating in Manatee High’s marching band.

And 29. The number of years Jim Bruce has been a band director here.

Under his leadership, the band has scored superiors, the highest marks in all Florida Band Association assessments during drum major Chyenne Everson’s time at Manatee.

“And we plan on getting straight superiors for FBA this year. I’m so excited,” she says.

Chyenne’s confident, but why not? Jim Bruce has helped to build the band’s reputation, and Chyenne says the students look up to him.

“He’s like a second dad to me. He’s like a dad to everyone. We actually call him dad all the time without telling him sometimes. He never hears us.”

Well, now he has.

This year’s show features Latin Jazz, where the show opens with Spain by Chick Corea. After the Latin Jazz portion, the drummers play a cadence, and the band students march to the back.

Then the Sugar Canes are featured, and they dance to a different song every home game.

“We have a very attentive and large football crowd here. And we like to just do what we can to change it up for them, give them something different for halftime.”

Hearing different songs every home game is something you normally hear with college bands, not high school ones.

Chyenne says if there’s one thing besides the band’s sound that non-band students should know, it’s this:

“We’re always together and even at lunch, we’re together. In between classes, we’re together. And it’s pretty much one of the best experiences you can have in high school, especially for me, because it’s actually just like a family. There’s a lot of drama, but it always turns around to be good again.”

You can catch their next home game performance Friday, September 30th, at Manatee High.

As an online bonus, Southeast High Marching Band band captain Mandilee Morange has a special shout-out for Chyenne. We’ll take you to Southeast in the next installment of our Friday Football Fever Band of the Week: