Alumni band tuning up to play at McComb High events
Posted October 14
McCOMB, Miss. — The dwindling number of students playing in McComb High School's band has sparked a concern among former band members, who are playing alongside current students following the formation of an alumni band.
McComb High School band alum Shaniqua Posey said fellow former bandmate Laterrica Morris posted a picture of this year's band on Facebook. Germaine Matthews, a trombone player who graduated in 2009, said he wondered what was wrong.
"The band was small," he said of the 50 or so members. "Our band has never been that small."
Matthews said he spoke to new band director Kendra Washington, who told him students just don't seem to be interested.
"It's not a leadership problem," he said. "I went to Alcorn for three years and Kendra and I were in the band together. She graduated from Alcorn. She's good."
Matthews said he believes a lot of parents are pushing their children toward scholarships in athletics and are missing other opportunities, such as the band.
"They think the band isn't a physical sport, but it is," he said. "We sweat, cry, run, get yelled at just like football players. Band isn't just during football season. We also have concert season."
Matthews remembers when former band director Robert Lamkin, now the high school's principal, asked him a question that stuck with him. "He said, 'What does your horn mean to you?' And I said, 'I don't know,' and he told me, 'This is your future,' " Matthews said.
Matthews said he learned what Lamkin meant when he got a full scholarship to Alcorn State University.
Lamkin said he believes there are two reasons for low participation: finances and scheduling.
Posey, who also graduated in 2009, said she and Matthews spoke about what they could do to revive the band.
"We decided that we would give it a try and attempt to get out alumni together to raise money," she said.
He said that in less than a week, the alumni band, comprised of 50 former members, collected $1,000 for the high school band.