ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — In just their second year leading the Robertsdale High School Golden Bear marching band program, Director Lee Hughes and Assistant Director Bryant Ramey have hit the ground running in preparation for the upcoming fall season.
“We just want to continue to build on the already excellent program that was in place when we got here,” Hughes said.
The program includes about 130 members coming into the 2018-19 season, Hughes said, which is up about 20 members from last year.
“From what I understand, we have the largest classes of freshmen and sophomores that we’ve every had,” Hughes said, “and with a large group of seventh and eighth graders (under the direction of Ashley Cummings at Central Baldwin Middle School), I am excited about our potential for future growth over the next several years.”
The band recently completed a three-week band camp in which all of the program for the coming season was put in place, Hughes said.
This year’s theme will the “Wanted” a celebration of outlaws. The program will follow a Western theme, played out to the music of classic Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns, including theme music from “The Good, The Band, and The Ugly,” along with the Eagles classic “Desperado” and finishing with country music outlaw Willie Nelson’s “You Are Always On My Mind.”
Senior Melody Weaver returns as head drum major for the 2018-19 season, along with assistant drum major, junior Zander Westfall.
“I’m really excited about this year and continuing to grow,” Westfall said. “I’m looking forward to assuming a leadership role from the podium and on the field to make this band the best it can be.”
In addition to performing the halftime show, Hughes said, the band will also be making a trip to Orlando, participating in a Foley clinic (not the city just a few miles down the road), studying movie sound effects and music scores with hopes of incorporating some of what they learn into the show.
“They will be learning to play the musical score from ‘Despicable Me,’” Hughes said, “and will be learning how the engineering side of making music in the film industry. We want to not only teach these students how to play music, we want to show them that there are many different ways of using musical knowledge into their careers. They will get the opportunity to meet roadies, engineers and officials with record labels. There’s just so much out there in the music industry today to choose from.”
Hughes and Ramey both said they want their band students to come away with a well-rounded education.
Several of the students participated over the spring and summer in the Collegiate Honors program, the All-State Jazz Ensemble and on the Gulf Coast Guard and Percussion Ensemble Circuit. Several students also participated with other big-band groups, such as the Baldwin Pops.
“We want them to participate in everything they can to improve their musical skills and make them more self-confident, both in their abilities and as a person,” Ramey said.