Friday, November 06, 2015

TOP STORY >> United marching band thriving

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski High School Band finish their final practice of marching season on Tuesday. It was the first year for both high school bands to be combined into one. North Pulaski students will attend Jacksonville High School next year, when NPHS will become a middle school.

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski Band’s first marching competition season has been quite a success.

Members brought home first division ratings in class 5A for the band, drum major Khagji Warren, color guard and drum line after competing in the Showcase of Bands held Oct. 10 at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Members competed again on Oct. 17 at The Forrest City Marching Invitational. They received first division ratings for the band, drum major, color guard and drum line there, too.

The band can also tout having the class B first place soloists (the Cieariah Reese and Jamal Gulley trombone duet), taking first place in class B and fourth place overall.

The band also earned a first division rating in the Region 1 Marching Assessment at North Little Rock High School, which was held Oct. 20.

This year, the Jacksonville High School and North Pulaski High School marching bands were consolidated, as part of the developing new school district.

The result was a mashup of North Pulaski’s structured corps style and Jacksonville’s high-stepping, energetic show style.

This was evident in the combined ensemble’s presentation of a competitive show called iBand, which was technologically themed to be performed like a live concert with current pop music.

North Pulaski High School 11th grader Sarah Walker said, “Combining the bands was perfection. Without combining, North Pulaski would be competing in a 2A class instead of 5A.”

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski band has 50 students.

North Pulaski had 75 band students last year but lost students to Sylvan Hills High School when attendance zone boundaries were re-drawn.

Jacksonville High School has 10 members in the band.

People were afraid of change, Walker explained, so both schools saw declines. She said some students didn’t want to learn a new style.

But, Walker continued, “We made new friends. Some of the juniors will be going to Jacksonville and some to Sylvan Hills. I will know people there at Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville High School 10th grader Brendon Crow said, “This was the best year for the first time. Last year, Jacksonville did not compete in the marching competition.”

Walker added, “I’m glad Jacksonville (students) made and accepted the challenge. They were motivated, even through the hard times of practice. Concert season is going to go just as well. It is a little different. We are seated, but it will still be fun.”