HALEYVILLE - The Haleyville High School band will once again take part in the state’s history, when pages in their government textbooks come to life Monday, as they march in the inauguration parade after the swearing in of Alabama’s 54th governor Kay Ivey, the second female governor of the state.
This marks the third time the HHS band was chosen to perform in the inauguration parade since Director Reggie Tolbert has been director.
“I know there is a pretty rich history of Winston County having a group participate,” Tolbert said.
Tolbert received a call from State Representative Tracy Estes, inviting the band to be a part of the parade, a process which required the band submit an application, school officials said.
In fact, Estes worked with the appropriate officials in Montgomery to secure a spot in the parade for the HHS band, he said.
“I am grateful for the opportunity this represents for our students, as this will be a chance for them to witness and participate in our state’s history,” Representative Estes said.
“I am confident the band will represent our school system and community with pride and class,” he added.
Tolbert said the band’s performance in the inaugural parade will continue that tradition of pride.
“It’s a great event for our kids to be a part of,” said Tolbert. “It’s hugely well known and public event in our state, and I think it is really important put in a good showing, A, and that we represent our community, our county and our town with the respect they deserve.
“We have great kids, and I would like to show them off a little bit too,” Tolbert added.
HHS band students, comprising 8th through 12th grade, will assemble 5:30 a.m. Monday at the high school to depart for Montgomery.
Students will assemble later that morning for the parade in full uniform at the intersection of Bibb Street and Lee Street and Commerce Street, downtown Montgomery.
Around noon, the HHS band will perform 58th out of 66 total entries in the parade, which includes numerous high schools, colleges as well as state officials and other entries from across the state.
The HHS band marks the only entry into the parade from Winston County, according to school officials.
Leading the parade is Governor Ivey, followed by the Auburn University Marching Band, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall, University of Alabama Million Dollar Band, just to name a few.
The high school band in the parade just before HHS will be Brindlee, with Sparkman High School following the HHS band.
“We have a great group of students, and I am so proud they have the opportunity to do this,” Tolbert said.
This marks the second inauguration parade for Senior Band Captain Lauryn Jones, whose last inauguration parade was her 8th grade year in January of 2015.
Governor’s inaugural parades are held every four years.
“It’s a bigger opportunity because we are more exposed to other bands and we get to interact with them,” Jones said.
“There are 66 (parade entries) and since we are the only band from Winston County, I feel like that shows a lot about out program, how well people think of us to be invited back the second time,” she added.
Tolbert said this event was so important because so many of their students have not been out of Haleyville.
“I am just so proud that band is here to give them opportunities that they might not normally get,” Tolbert said.
Assistant Director Judd Williams, who is also director of the middle school band, noted the band program has striven to make sure the community knows how hard the students work.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to be awarded publically,” said Williams. “This group has accomplished more than I ever imagined we could at this point.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for them to see how important its is to be a part of history and the government,” added Williams. “We are going to stress how important it is to vote on this trip when they get old enough, and some of these kids are about to be old enough.”
The trip also gives school officials an opportunity to emphasize to students that their civics lessons come to life, when they take part of the day’s events, when the state’s most important governing official takes office.
“This is an opportunity for them to realize how big not only our state is and how important the different civic organizations are in our state, they will also get a chance to see all the best bands in this state at one time,” Williams pointed out.
The band leading the parade just behind Governor Ivey is Auburn, where Ivey at one time played the trumpet. These are just some of the lessons that school officials are teaching students from this experience, said Williams.
“A lot of kids don’t know that. We want to make sure they know that,” said Williams.
“The best of the best in this state are going to be there, and we’re incredibly excited for them to get to be included in that group,” added Williams.
The march through the streets of downtown Montgomery Monday also marks a repeat performance by Senior student Sam Lyon, head band captain, whose first inaugural parade was in 8th grade.
“There were so many new bands, and I got to meet new people,” Lyon recalled.
“I learn...what it means to us. Our governor helps us...She is the spokesperson for our state,” Lyon noted. “When we made the turn to go in front of the Capitol and you saw everyone lined up...I get to experience playing our fight song in front of the capitol.”
Band student John Mark Mayhall, a band captain in the 11th grade, did not perform in the last inauguration parade four years ago, since it was one year before he got to the high school band, so Monday marks a new experience for him.
“I get to march in front of probably the most people I have, or close that at least, so it is just an awesome feeling,” Mayhall said.
“It’s a huge honor,” noted High School Principal Dr. Erika McCoy. “You think of all the children involved in marching band in northwest Alabama, and so it is an honor.
“It’s such an opportunity for our children to experience not only part of American history and politics but celebrate what it means to be part of a bigger picture,” Dr. McCoy added.
“This is something on the state level that doesn’t occur very often,” she added. “And what an honor for them to be able to experience that, that they will not have the opportunity to experience again for another four years.”
HCS Superintendent Dr. Holly Sutherland noted the school is honored that the HHS Roaring Lion Band has been selected for this event.
“Our band works so hard year around and makes us so proud,” Dr. Sutherland said. “I cannot say enough about this group of students. We are blessed with an amazing band.
Dr. Sutherland also commended the efforts of the band leadership team, including Tolbert, Williams, Vicky Brown and Amy Farris.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.