They're slim in numbers and green as the grass on which they're marching. They're soaked from hourly rain storms, tired of standing and out of tune with the cold. Yet they haven't given up.

Volunteer marching instructor Tom Strecker calls them the marching band that could.

"We tell them this is perfect marching weather," he said Wednesday as unrelenting rain continued to pour. "A lot of them have developed that attitude: Bring it on!"

Astoria High School Marching Band members are attending a week-long band camp at John Warren Field. Today marks the last day of the intensive effort to teach the 20 musicians and nine flag team members a half-time field show. The band will perform the routine at games throughout the football season, then compete in San Francisco, Calif., in December.

The marching band is only in its second year as a field show band and students are still learning how to play an instrument and march at the same time. Not only must they play their music from memory, students have to recall how many steps to take in what direction - and when.

"It's incredibly difficult," band director Tracy Hafer said. "It's like walking and chewing gum at the same time for some people. These kids are marching forward, backward and sliding right and left and doing pinwheels and circles while they're playing songs."

How it began

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