VENICE - Drum major V Stephenson entered Venice High along with many fellow Venice Middle students, so he knew plenty of band students right away and says it may have been harder to acclimate to high school if he came from a different state.

"Well, it probably wouldn't be that much harder because everybody here is so nice and I can't thank them enough."

Oh, never mind. Co-drum major Kerry Carr shares that sentiment. He came from Cleveland and fit right into the band culture, though the Florida culture was a little harder.

"Everyone here is like, oh I love going to the beach, and I'm like oh, okay."

This is my third time visiting the Venice High Marching Indians, under the direction of Jonathan Case. And I'm always told that they're known as the "fun" band.

"When you go on your first roller coaster, and you're like I'm so nervous, that's how you feel freshman year, and then you're like you go through it, and you're like I wanna do it again, but four times," Stephenson says.

And while the sun is setting on both drum majors' high school careers, they're finishing it by tackling one of the most well-known works of the 19th century: Les Miserables. The story is set in the 19th century, ending during the Paris Uprising of 1932. It is a story of redemption as the main character, Jean Valjean, born a pauper to a pawn, was sent to jail for stealing bread but finds redemption later.

Kerry says this show feels different than years past.

"We're not working with music that's like written for radio. We're working with music that's written for, it's an opera. And it's written to be as expressive and artistic as possible. And I think that's like awesome for us as a band to be able to play that's more complicated."

And having scored the highest rating of superior the past three years at the annual FBA marching assessment, they hope to tackle the challenge and repeat their success this year.

As an online bonus, we appreciated the thank you from the Venice High students. "What a guy." No, YOU'RE the guy, young man.