Twenty-eight members of the Elkin High School marching band have begun practicing for the upcoming season in hopes of having their show ready for the field by the first home football game, Sept. 9.
This year, the band, which includes middle- and high-schoolers, has new leadership in the form of band director Greg Carpenter, who has come to Elkin with a goal of growing the band program. Carpenter, along with Drum Major Avery Atwood, who is a senior, and Assistant Drum Major Sierra Moses, a sophomore, will be heading up the marching band program.
For those driving by the high school in the mornings this week, it is likely the band members, which includes five color guard members, can be seen in the student parking lot learning the sets of the program on a blue-lined “field” which has been painted on the parking lot. In the afternoons, the band members move inside to learn the instrumental portion of the show.
Carpenter said the show for this year has been named “Psychedelic” for now, featuring 1970s rock music including Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“This is a learning curve for some,” Carpenter said of getting used to the marching. “They’ve taken really well to it. I’m very proud.”
The young musicians, ranging from seventh through 12th grade, just saw the music for the first time last Thursday due to Carpenter just coming on board with the school system recently. He said in the future he hopes to provide the music to the students before they leave for summer break.
“I was teaching elementary school music in Charlotte, but my training was to be a band director,” said Carpenter, a graduate of Mount Tabor High School in Winston-Salem and then Western Carolina University. “I applied and interviewed, and they liked me and I liked the area.”
Carpenter said the band students “are great kids, and I love being around them.”
It is still uncertain whether the Elkin band will be participating in any marching band competitions, but Carpenter has set a couple of dates aside on the calendar in case that does happen. “We will see where we are closer to competition season,” he said.
His love of band was born in his family, Carpenter said as he explained his father was a band director for many years before becoming a minister of music at a church. “He was my first band director,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to come through some great band programs in high school and college. It is an experience I want as many people to have as possible. It brings people together in no way anything else does.”
Carpenter said this year will be a learning process for everyone, as this is his first year directing, but he said he is excited.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.