If you were to ever think about how many different student groups and activities there are in the typical high school, it is amazing at how many “working parts” are going on, often simultaneously, each year. One very important group to any school is the high school band program. Students in high school band have often been in music and / or band classes since their later years of elementary school. And when you think of it, it is awesome to think that these students must first learn how to play their instruments, play increasingly difficult and complex songs, and, be able to march and concentrate on their formations and movements while playing an instrument. As someone who has absolutely no musical ability myself, I have tremendous respect for the students that do and are willing to work so hard to perfect their talents.
The Paris band is the backbone of the Eagles’ game atmosphere and home field advantage. And last week, I had the pleasure of attending one of their practices. It was a very warm day with temperatures in the mid-90s, bright sunshine, and very little, if any, shade. But the Marching Eagles were out practicing their show and formations on the hot parking lot asphalt of Eagles Stadium. For those of us who have never been in marching band and have not gone through this phase of summer practice, we just can’t understand the sacrifice and dedication of these students. But, I have tremendous respect for them, and each year, I look forward to seeing and hearing their halftime entertainment and music.
Band can be a great source of financial aid for students wishing to go to college, and more students should take advantage of the opportunities. Not to say that it is easy by any means, but for students who may prefer the fine arts over athletics, it is a great path to college. And also, a great path to unique college experiences, such as playing in a college band like the Marching Razorbacks Band or the Hogwild Band. Travel, television, and financial aid are all benefits of working hard in their public school days and then going on to play in college. In my opinion, band is an opportunity that more students should take advantage of from their middle school years through high school.
Paris had one of their best performances last year at the annual state marching contest that is held at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium. Head band director, Matt Shewmaker, is doing a great job at Paris, and the future of the program appears to be bright. Although it was a very hot day for practice, all of the members of the band seemed to be having a good time and were very close to each other as a team.
The band will travel to Waldron on August 26 when the Eagles play the Bulldogs in the opening of the 2022 high school football season. The Marching Eagles’ first home performance will be the following week on September 2 when Paris hosts Mansfield in the Eagles’ home football opener.
Thanks to all of the Paris band members and their directors for their hard work, and we can’t wait to see them perform this fall!