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CHS to play in ‘Battle of the Bands’

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

Training hard has never been a problem for the Central High School Marching Band…members have come to expect it. However, this year will bring incentive as the group will participate in the Calhoun Foods Battle of the Bands in Montgomery.

Scheduled for October, this will be the school’s first experience at the competition and the band has endured exhausting practices, routines and tryouts in preparation for the event.

Central High School held spring tryouts for dancers, majorettes, flag corps and drum majors on April 17 to determine who will be showcased at the competition.

Instructors Susan Coleman, Nakeshia Shelton and Wendale Pierson judged the students on scholarship, leadership, character, service and discipline when making their final cut.

Through all its hard work, the band, accompanied by the dancers, majorettes, flag corps and drum majors, has received recognition for its accomplishments.

The school’s band has received Excellent Rating at the Calhoun High School Drum Competition in 2002 and an Outstanding Rating in the Boyd Lacey Parade for The Best Band of 2010.

The Central band has also participated in several parades throughout 2009 and 2010, such as the Wilcox County Homecoming Parade, the Central High School Homecoming Parade, the Turkey Day Classic Parade, Hayneville and Whitehall Christmas Parades and the Boyd Lacey New Years Parade.

Under the leadership of Mr. Henry Pugh from the late 1970s to 1997, the CHS band was once known as one of the Best Bands in the area.

Now the band is improving and growing under the leadership of Director Henry Campbell.

“We will be pushing our students over the summer with practice for the competition,” said Campbell.

But students participating in the extracurricular activity often have to practice without proper equipment or share different pieces of equipment. Students are forced to perform with broken drumsticks and mallets, no drum heads or stands.

The White Hall Casino regularly donated $10,000 to CHS for the purchase of such equipment, but has recently been unable to do so, according to Percussionist Instructor Jerome Hardy.

According to Campbell, the school band is working to gain sponsorship through local businesses and even hold fundraising events to earn money for new uniforms.

Car washes, gospel contests, raffles and dances are some of the ideas the group is discussing.

Though, the CHS band is still in the rebuilding stages, it has adapted to “promoting high expectations” for the upcoming year.