With a brand new directorial staff this season, curve-balls have been flying toward the Central High School band. With all these changes come raised eyebrows regarding the band’s upheaval with the school’s traditions.
This season for the Fountain City Sound has been incredibly different than those past. Mr. Ramsey’s abrupt move out of state allowed Ms. Kearney’s step up as head director of the band this summer. The assistant spot was filled by Mr. Mink, a University of Tennessee alum, who comes to us ready to inspire.
While some adjustments have been mostly beneficial, others have proven risky. The reintroduction of the original version of Central High School fight song, “Red and Black” has caused some issue under the Friday night lights in Dan Y. Boring.
IIt came to light that “Red and Black,” composed by former director, Odell Willis, in the 1930s, has lyrics to match its peppy tune. “We’re one of the oldest programs around… there’s so much history here,” says Kearney, “we polished it up and made it true to the original.”
The decision was made that the band would sing the fight song one time through and then play as normal, which came as a shock to the cheer team.
Cheer captain Rylie Compton and the rest of the squad had no idea what was happening when the band broke out into song after the first touchdown of the season. “It was off-putting trying to get our dance to correlate with their singing,” Compton says, “Our coach, who cheered in the eighties here, did the same exact dance and she wasn’t the first team to do it.”
The addition and update of several stands tunes, songs played in the stands during a game, have also caused issue for the cheer team as well as the colorguard. “We sometimes will hear [the new stands tunes] for the first time during a game and have to make a dance up on the spot,” explains Kylie Dowling, a senior guard member. “The dances get repetitive because of it.”
However, Mink and Kearney are only meeting consumer demand. They “take into account what [the students] want to play as they “have people requesting music all the time.”
Despite initial apprehensions, things are beginning to come together as the season progresses. Band members Drum Major Olivia Battershell and percussion captain Sarah Cook have praised new rehearsal techniques Kearney has implemented siting them as “helpful” and “effective.”
One key component that has continually stuck out in all of this is communication, an issue that has already begun to resolve itself and will continue to get better in the future. The directors “trying to get recordings of everything [the band plays] so that the cheerleaders and dance team can practice with a recording of the cadences and stands tunes” making things smoother throughout the game.
As for the complaints surrounding tradition, Olivia Battershell put it best, “Opinions about the traditions are just that, opinions.” The update really isn’t a new tradition at all, it’s the renewal of an old one. “Change is different and it’s hard sometimes,” Cook stated.
With any new direction, there’s bound to be backlash but there is no doubt that the Fountain City Sound will look and sound great as the season continues.
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