By: Terry Simpson
Could that be the drummer from 1998 and the tuba player from 1996 and look, there is a clarinetist from 1980—but wait, that is the current tuba player of today, a junior at Monroe County High School, there alongside them and the band seems to have doubled in size.
If you attended the varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball games held at Monroe County High School on Tuesday, Feb.12, you may have felt like you had stepped back in time or your eyes were playing tricks on you.
The bands performing, divided into two sections, were dubbed the “alumni band,” consisting of a group of the graduating classes from the 80s to 2003, with the majority coming from the class of ‘95, and current MCHS band members.
A “Battle of the Bands,” as dubbed by Brady Jackson, son of Richard and Gretchen Jackson, Tompkinsville, was in play.
The alumni band, filled with former “bandies” who have since graduated, came to be from an idea thrown around by Richard Jackson (Class of 1996) and Mike Pitcock (Class of 1995). Adding in some musings of an 11-year-old, the titled “Battle of the Bands,” was born.
According to his dad, Richard, Brady wanted to make it more of a competition, something to get people more interested and involved with the band.
“I think it is a great idea for community outreach,” Richard added. “It shows spirit and support of the kids in the band.”
The idea originated in the fall when Pitcock and former MCHS band director Ken Holbrook, spent time playing with the community band in Glasgow.
Holbrook’s grandson, Caulyn and MCHS Class of 1996 alumni Deanna Tarry, joined the others in talking about wanting to play more as their performance season was ending.
“We were just a bunch of old folks getting together to play music and decided we would like to do this to honor Holbrook and encourage others,” Pitcock said.
“Band is something you can do your whole life and we want to show people that. We have a lot of great memories and are excited to play again tonight,” he added.
Perhaps even more of those memories were brought back that night as sisters — Meda Burnette and Neda Yeager — two of the more “seasoned” graduates, (Classes of 1980 and 1985 respectively), laughed of the 40 years’ time that had passed since they picked up an instrument.
Meanwhile, brothers Stuart and Mike Pitcock, and several others performed alongside the younger generations of their own families.
Family members were also in the crowd, some sitting with the band, cheering them on, dancing and providing encouragement.
As she danced, Kathy Ford, who was there to cheer on her alumni drummer brother, Bradley Adams, stated excitedly, “I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun. I am his biggest fan. I always have been.”
Current MCHS Band Director Kelsi Kerney was hard at work, stepping back and forth between the bands, directing each of them as they performed during time outs and at half-time of the game.
Alumni Directors Ken Holbrook and Terri Collins joined the party a little later as the bands continued to “battle” through the night.
As the “battle” raged on throughout the night with no clear winner, everyone agreed that the bands (both separately and together) had a wonderful performance and complimented each other well.
It was obvious the pride that band members had for themselves and each other and that young Brady received his wish — the community brought together through one of our greatest gifts…music.