Marching on: Pride of Priceville has ‘stellar’ season
The 58 students who make up the Priceville High School marching band are fondly known by many as the Pride of Priceville.
They entertain the crowd and pump up the football team for a victory at Bulldog Stadium on Fridays, but there’s much more to the mass of marching musicians.
Along with playing at football games for the history-making season the Bulldogs have had, the POP band has also entered three competitions during their busy marching season, including the Northwest Alabama Marching Classic in Russellville, the Covered Bridge Marching Festival in Oneonta and the Tennessee Valley Invitation Marching Competition in Muscle Shoals.
The band has had much success under their first-year band director, Temon Brown.
The UNA graduate was a student teacher at Priceville last year and assisted with band camps at Brewer and East Lawrence high schools as well as Sheffield Junior High and Muscle Shoals Middle School.
Brown said participation in marching band teaches students plenty of musical lessons, but it teaches life skills as well such as teamwork, time management and discipline.
“Each of those life skills are important to have, but the one I want all of them to leave with is commitment,” Brown said. “With commitment, and a hard work ethic, the students will be able to achieve whatever they set their mind on. Anything is possible with dedication and a little hard work.”
Brown said his proudest moment so far this year has to be from the band’s final competition.
“We arrived at our competition in Muscle Shoals and received news of a three-hour rain delay,” he said. “The students waited it out, and were able to put on their best performance all year. This band has grit, and they proved it that day.”
The band, drum major, percussion, color guard and majorettes received superior ratings across the board at all three competitions this year. The band was awarded the Small Division Band Champ at the Muscle Shoals competition and the Sonny Tolbert Award for Excellence at the Oneonta competition. At the Covered Bridge Festival in Oneonta, drum major Mia Kidd, the color guard and majorettes received best in class awards. Instructed by Kim Robertson and Paige Parker, the majorettes received best in class at all three competitions in addition to the award for best overall majorettes in Russellville.
The band performed patriotic music in the Priceville Veterans Day parade and at the Veterans Memorial Park Nov. 11. They will start a pep band for the upcoming basketball season and play at some of the home games and post-season games. The band’s halftime show theme this year has been The Music of John Williams, and consists of songs including “Olympic Fanfare,” and the theme songs from Indiana Jones and Star Wars.
Building on this year’s success starts in the spring, Brown said, adding building and maintaining a band’s ability is very similar to building a sports team.
“We will work on music fundamentals in the spring to increase our knowledge there,” he said. “I also plan on bringing in some clinicians to listen to the group, and give us some other things to work on. We are also adding a basketball pep band and a jazz band to the program.”
Kaden Burns plays saxophone in the band – he said through his participation in the Pride of Priceville, he has learned to strive for success in everything he does, work as a teamplayer and be selfless.
“I’m thankful for my time in band, because it’s made me the person I am today,” Burns said. “I think we killed it this year. This has been one of our most successful seasons over the past five years. It means a lot to me, and the rest of the senior class, that the band has put in the work that they have all season long.”
Drum major Mia Kidd said her experience has taught her great leadership skills.
“I really enjoy it. I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve been able to experience trips out of state, local honor bands, and All State honor band. As drum major and clarinet section leader, band has also taught me how to be a good leader,” Kidd said. “My time in band has inspired me to pursue my future career as a music educator.
“Our band has been very successful this season. The band has worked really hard on perfecting our marching show,” she added. “Under the leadership of our new director Mr. Brown, we have been inspired to always give our best effort. One goal that he set for us was to ‘leave everything on the field’, and I believe with our achievements this year we’ve surpassed that goal.”