Alcoa High School Band to celebrate 75 years
By Matthew Stewart| (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Alcoa High School’s band program is celebrating its dodranscentennial this year.
School officials and community members have organized activities for the program’s 75th anniversary celebrations, which will be held before and during the Sept. 21 football game against Greeneville High School. The band’s first performance was Sept. 24, 1937.
“Alcoa High School’s band program has a long, proud history, and we’re honored to welcome alumni back to campus for this due recognition,” said band director Bryant Adler.
Organizers have interviewed Edwin A. “Bob” Nicholls, a member of Alcoa High School’s first band, and will air the interview on Alcoa Channel 3-Tornado TV, said Blount County Circuit Court Judge David R. Duggan. Nicholls, who was 11 years old at the time, is one of two known surviving members of the first year’s 11 band members.
He is the only local survivor, as the other band member lives in Texas, Duggan said.
Organizers will host a 5-7 p.m. Sept. 21 public reception in Alcoa High School’s gym, Adler said. They plan to create a living history museum, presenting pictures, memorabilia and other artifacts.
The band plans to perform “The Horse,” which was Alcoa High School’s unofficial fight song for many years, and their new fight song, “Maroon and Gray,” in the halftime show, he said. They will also play songs from previous decades.
Alcoa High School further plans to hold a moment of silence for former band members who served in the military and died, he said.
“We started planning events last spring,” Adler said. “Judge Duggan came across a (school) newspaper article, and we put it together that this year was our 75th anniversary. We’ve been working ever since on this (event).”
School officials and Duggan have worked diligently to locate alumni band members, he said. They have examined annuals dating back to 1946, identified band members and tried to locate current addresses through the Alcoa High School Alumni Association.
Organizers are trying to assemble as many alumni as possible for the event, Adler said. Alcoa City Schools Foundation provided funds that defrayed printing costs for 800 postcards.
“We’ve received a great response so far,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to seeing past, present and future band members together.”
Alumni band members are invited to participate in the halftime show, he said. Alumni who aren’t able to play in the band are encouraged to still participate in the show, and organizers have created a designated area for them to stand on the field.
Current and alumni band members will practice from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Sept. 20 following Alcoa Middle School’s football game, he said. The practice might start later than 8:30 p.m. if the game is longer than anticipated.
School officials have posted the show’s sheet music on Alcoa High School’s website, Adler said. They are requesting that alumni band members provide their own instruments, but they will attempt to help individuals locate an instrument if they don’t have one.
Former band director Hugh Livingston Jr. will be the event’s honorary conductor, he said.
Organizers are excited about the anniversary celebrations.
“It’s one more opportunity to support and celebrate Alcoa’s community spirit,” Duggan said.
“Music connects generational gaps,” Adler said. “Music is a universal language. It can bring generations together and help them find common ground. Our kids love to play “The Horse,” and students who attended in the ’60s still talk about playing it. I think it’s really cool to see the power of music, especially in a community and school district as unique as Alcoa.”
He encouraged alumni band members to attend the event. “If you’re a Tornado, you’re connected to a proud Friday night tradition. Athletics are one proud tradition, but many other traditions fall under the same umbrella. We’d like to welcome all Tornadoes to celebrate this milestone.”