LHHS musicians to perform ‘Moments’ marching show
By DANA DELGADO
With another year at hand, Liberty Hill’s Band Director John Perrin who has built a respected and recognized program since he assumed its leadership in 2009 is ready and eager to strike up the band for yet another banner year.
“We’re ready to go!” Perrin said. “We want to continue the high levels of success we’ve experienced in the past. The kids are really excited.”
This year’s marching program is called “Moments” and features three tunes including “Living in the Past” by Jethro Tull, “Turning Tables” by Adele and “Remembrance” by composer Paul Hart.
The program comes on the heels of a successful 2014-2015 when the marching band won a host of awards including garnering sweepstakes honors at two invitational competitions, and saw two of its members — saxophone player Ciara Montgomery and clarinetist Clayton Luckadoo — capture All-State honors.
About 113 high school band members including the color guard are expected to carry on the Panther tradition in 2015-2016. This equals the size of last year’s band, but the Director expects that number to increase in the next few years.
In addition, Perrin returns his entire cadre of assistant directors from across the school district including Jared Clarkson, Kevin Baird and Andy Anker.
A major change this year is the emergence of a fully trained corps of student band leaders led by Catherine Wamsley, Head Drum Major, and Jordan Marsh and Rachel Eldridge, Assistant Drum Majors.
Wamsley, who has been playing the French horn since sixth grade and has been a member of the marching band four years, said she is honored to have been selected to the band’s top student leadership post.
“Being the Head Drum Major is one my proudest moments in my life,” the senior said. “I was an assistant drum major as a junior and want to carry that drive this year. I’m really excited what the season will bring and owe a lot to all our band directors.”
In her second year as Assistant Drum Major, senior Marsh said her leadership roles as well as her involvement in band have really helped her grow as a person.
“I’ve made a lot of friends and being in the band has helped shape my character and made me a much more rounded person,” she said.
Eldridge, in her first year as an Assistant Drum Major, is equally excited about the upcoming year.
“I feel like this year is going to be one of our best years,” the junior leader said. “We want to build a family and strengthen our bonds as one team. I feel that this is going to push us to be better than ever.”
Perrin said that all three drum majors are exceptional musicians in their own right, have a lot invested in band, and have a full understanding of what it takes to succeed.
Also on the student leadership team for this year are Band President Grace Alexander, Vice Presidents Andrew Frerichs and Hannah Landry, Audio Video Tech Sarah Johnson and Historian/Librarian Shannon Warren. Other students supporting the band are Section Leaders Robyn Burnett (Flute), Kate Browning (Clarinet), Michaela De La Houssaye (Saxophone), Kayla Allison (Trumpet), Robert Candler (Horn), Robbie Walker and Reese Merritt (Low Brass) and Allie Fullmer (Percussion). Serving as Percussion Lieutenants for the 2015-16 season are Matt Fleetwood and Grace Bryant.
“We met with all our leadership and all went well,” Perrin said. “It’s been a real good feeling watching the leadership talk to their sections. The kids are really excited and saying that they want to have a good year, but it’s going to be all about communication.”
In agreement with Perrin, Assistant Band Director Clarkson said, “We’ve taken major strides in our leadership team and how they approach things. We’re going to rely on them much more.”
The entire 18-member student leadership group underwent on-campus training July 30-31 with a nationally recognized company, SASI (Solutions and Specialized Innovations). The two-day training focused on leadership development and teamwork and empowers participants to create a positive and life-changing culture that is beneficial for them and their organization.
Another new initiative is the band’s Big Brother/Big Sister Program where juniors and seniors will be paired as mentors with sophomores and freshmen.
“We have great kids and we want to take advantage of it,” said Perrin.
The entire high school band including incoming freshmen and transfers began practices for their upcoming season on August 3. The marching band kicks off its season August 28 at Panther Stadium as the Panthers host La Grange.