By Rose Miller
The Madison Central Marching Band delivered two stellar performances and grabbed third place Saturday night in the Kentucky Music Educators Association state marching band championships at Western Kentucky University.
Yes, the weather was dreary and cold, but Central’s band could not be dissuaded. They came after a trophy and brought one home!
The judges named Lafayette High School of Lexington as the Grand Champion, giving second place to North Hardin High School.
Madison Central was ecstatic to take third place ahead of Lexington's giant Dunbar High School, which came in fourth place.
Spirits soared among Madison Central’s band students and their families as the evening drew to a close and they headed back to their hotels for yet, another celebration.
On Sunday afternoon, proud parents huddled in the cold to welcome home the buses carrying the triumphant, but fatigued marching band students. Youngsters’ arms were flailing out the rolled-down bus windows, sending victory gestures and waves to a small sea of excited and appreciative parents, eager to receive their victorious children home.
I, too, was among the energized and ecstatic parents and family members, waiting to greet my two grandsons.
I'd like to share with Register readers what goes on behind the scenes of a winning band.
A Madison Central Band student is a special breed, with an exceptional, unique demeanor all their own. These extraordinary students know how to follow orders, organize their time, adjust to changes in last-minute scheduling and then represent their school in a sterling manner.
Madison Central's marching band consists of 101 music students and 23 delightful color-guard girls. These students are happy to perform under the leadership of band director H. Brent Barton and his fellow directors David Jaggie and Jeremiah Flower.
Many people assume the band's season is only four months, consisting of two grueling weeks of summer camp, a month of after-school practices and a couple of months of participating in band competitions. That's a misunderstanding for certain!
Central's marching band is a learning program that spreads over eleven months of the year. After competitions and state finals are over, most band students participate in jazz, classical or orchestra ensembles. These programs require students remain hours after school for specialized instruction and practice.
Some students sacrifice changing instruments for the betterment of the band’s program. My grandson, Woody Dailey, who entered Central’s band in the eighth grade, changed from playing the trumpet to train on the trombone because, at the time, there was a shortage of trombone players in the band. Now, he and his brother, Joey Barger, both play trombones. The students do what is best for the band program.
The band has many five-year students. Naturally, this means students, like Kendall Miller, joined Central’s high school band while she was in the eighth grade. Generally, such students become senior-section leaders, as Kendall is for the trumpet section. So, you have experienced students helping inexperienced students adjust to the band’s rigorous routines and schedules.
Undeniably, some students make personal sacrifices along the way, but let me introduce you to some selfless band parents.
If I were painting a picture instead of using words to depict these diligent souls, my portrait would be a still-life portraying mothers sitting at sewing machines, creating flamboyant, colorful flags, from tedious, silk-like materials, during their summer vacations.
Band fathers would be hammering, painting and making props, instead of enjoying that fishing trip he might have been dreaming about.
No pun intended, but do you get the picture?
Fifty to 60 parents attend monthly booster meetings to discuss problems, projects and fundraising efforts.
Throughout the year, fundraisers supplement the parents’ fee for their students’ band supplies and traveling program. Parents seek out personal and business donations, as well as students promoting various first-class food and household products.
Speaking of fundraisers, the biggest fundraiser of all comes in the month of November when parents and students sell the very best oranges, grapefruits and pecans. Make certain to call upon band parents and students to place your orders early, as these fruits and nuts are highly-desired by the community and arrive in time for the upcoming holiday season.
Needless to say, ‘networking’ is the key to keeping a living organism, such as the Madison Central Marching Band, alive, well and winning trophies for their school and Madison County. Can you imagine a football game or parade without the snappy, happy sounds of beating drums, clanging symbols and other harmonious instruments tickling our ears and adding to the excitement of so many special events?
If the walls along the corridors of the music room could speak, they might tell how a student would say that he has packed two different black shoes for competition, and a wardrobe mom would reply, “No problem. We can fix that!”
Well, all the hard work and late hours of practicing have paid off for Madison Central’s marching band. And now you know the rest of the story behind this hard-working, victorious 5-A band!