STRIKE UP THE BAND!

For 32 years, I have taught students music and about Life.  “Be the best you can be” and “You never fail until you stop trying.”   “If you want to be successful, do one thing at a time and do it right.”  “There’s no use in settling for second best.”

     Here at Hampton School District One, my second tour of duty, I have taught students what band is all about: unity, responsibility and possessing moral standards.  I believe if you sow the seeds of success, something good is bound to grow.  If you keep it properly pruned and trimmed, it’s bound to be a centerpiece under the spotlight.

     I love the rewards of my job; one of many is being a positive influence in young lives.   Another reward is watching them grow.  A third is getting to see the finished product from when they come in as an unpolished rookie, to a polished senior band member.

     But winning awards aren’t the only reason why having a good band program is important for Hampton District One Schools.  The band is important because we have a lot to offer.  Although we support the athletics for school functions, we also provide the band students with a source, somewhere in which to prove themselves.  It gives them confidence for other subjects and prepares them for Life.

     Band teaches them responsibility, leadership, organization, and to have high goals, morals and good values.  And there is the community and social involvement to consider.

 There is life after band, and I simply want all of my students to be prepared for the ‘real world.’  I teach band members lessons that will last them a lifetime.

     Public education in America is losing its soul.  As Wynton Marsalis said, “Our culture is dying from the inside.”

     As music and other arts are pushed steadily to the periphery, our schools are losing touch with a unifying force that can help young people connect what they lean with intrinsic meaning for the human spirit.

     Music is a form of beauty.  It needs no one to justify it.  We want our children to know and understand music, precisely because it has the intrinsic value on many levels.  Music makes a distinctive claim on the human soul, bringing each generation face to face with itself and with what we sense lies beyond ourselves.

     Music connects us to our history, traditions, and heritage.  It is critically important that our children, as Americans, make this connection.           

     New research about the correlation between music skills and higher achievement in standardized test scores proves what we music teachers have always known.  “Music students can think on a much higher level because of the thousands of decisions they must make in order to produce a tone, strike a note, play a rhythm, compose music, keep time, and the list continues.”

     Unfortunately, too many people view the band or music in general as “just a fun course.”

The band can be described in many ways that includes “Fun,” but certainly much, much, more.  Students must sacrifice an extraordinary amount of time in order to perfect their talents and skills.  I constantly remind the students that being in the band is very much like experiencing life itself.

     It involves learning to get along with people, to promote teamwork, respect for others and for yourself, to be responsible, to achieve goals and to become involved in the community.  Band members participate in various activities, in addition to the sacrifice of time, and in some cases, after school jobs.  All of these help students to become effective, productive members of society.  So, strike up the band!

    I, Band Director E. L. Manigo, departed Hampton District One nine years ago for Colleton County School Bands and was brought back two years ago by the Hampton District One School Board with instructions to build a strong band program for the elementary schools, middle school, and high school.

     I feel that the band program has highly progressed since then.   I am very appreciative of the support shared by the Hampton District One School Board; Phil Strother, Chairman; Dr. Ronald Wilcox, Superintendent; Bonnie Wilson, Principal of Wade Hampton H. S.; Patricia Brantley, Principal of North District Middle School; and the elementary principals: Willie Coker, Fennell Elementary; Greg Ackerman, Brunson Elementary; and Cassandra Williams, Hampton Elementary.  

    The 2017-18 WHHS Red Guardsmen band officers are:  Drum Major, Jatavian Reese; Woodwind Captains, Brennan Holmes and Katherine Ryan; Brass Captains, Doug Cook and Ahmaade Griffin; Percussion Captain, Chorderro Williams and Timothy Sutton; and Flag Captain, Alyssa Wilson.

      The current Red Guardsmen Band Staff: E. L. Manigo, Band Director; Randall Williams, Drill Designer; Herbert Laurie, Flag Instructor; Travis Smalls, Percussion Instructor; Matthew Heath, Band Clinician; Edna McQuire and Karla McQuire, financial coordinators; Doug Cook, John Hughey, Jeff Conder and Tim Sutton, equipment truck drivers; Carlyta Jenkins and Chinon Conder, parent support staff; Susan Sutton and Eleanor Murray, media and photographers; Maurice Murray and Michal Davis; band bus drivers.

   The band members and band parent organization would like to thank several businesses and organizations for lending their support over the past years: BI-LO, Food Lion, Donna Brunson and the Deli staff at Piggly Wiggly, Hampton County Sheriff Department, ACE Hardware, Fletcher’s Finds, H&H Car Care, Market Place, Walsh’s Plumping & Electric, Fred’s, Ellis Realty, LE CREUSET, Hampton County Guardian Newspaper staff, and Carolina Pharmacy of the Lowcountry.