A 22-year tradition at Clinton High School has officially come to an end. Band boosters were notified of the cancellation of the Clinton High School Band Day, an event that started nearly three decades ago and has been an important part of the Dark Horse band.
According to information provided by Clinton High School parents and band booster members, Travis Jordan, band director, notified the booster members during a special meeting that he had made the decision to cancel Band Day.
Jordan reportedly told booster members that he had reviewed information and what he saw as the pros and cons of proceeding with the band day, and despite overwhelming success in the past, he felt there was no alternative to cancelling the band day tradition due to lack of interest.
“Although Band Day will be missed this year, the band at Clinton High School is very excited for the new doors that have opened in its absence,” Jordan said.
Speaking on behalf of Clinton City Schools, community liaison for the system, Faith Jackson, said for this year, due to receiving very few registrations from area bands, the band boosters’ executive committee were in consensus that it would be best if CHS took a break from the annual band day event.
Several band booster members, including the president and treasurer, spoke about their disappointment in the canceling of the band tradition that began while Ed Taylor was the CHS band director.
“We are very disappointed,” Band Booster president Linda Edwards said. “This has been a community event for the last 22 years. I feel sad for our students who were looking forward to this day.”
According to Edwards, the band day is a huge fundraising event sponsored by the band boosters. The event typically brings in between $10,000 and $14,000 and helps support band members’ expenses by paying for competition fees and travel associated with the competitions.
School officials agree — the Band Boosters work to help assist the band leader and members.
“The Band Boosters support and assist in enhancing the programs within our schools,” Jackson added. “We are appreciative of the Band Boosters support, and raising funds that increase our band’s impact on the students, schools and community.”
Bringing in bands from all across the state, the Clinton Band Day has become known for its premier competition and is home to an award winning band.
“CHS Band Day had become one of the premier competitions in the world of eastern and central North Carolina high school marching bands,” Booster treasurer Joan Tsao said. “Well-respected and well attended, Clinton Band Day attracted as many as 24 competing bands each year, and was known for its excellent facilities of practice fields, parking, homemade chili at the concession stand, and its iconic cement stadium seating. Visiting bands and their families also noted Clinton Band Day for the friendliness of its community.”
According to Jackson, the Clinton High School band received its first North Carolina state superior rating in eight years in March, followed by a second superior rating in May at the Festival of Music at Kings Dominion in Virginia.
“During the spring semester of 2016, the students experienced substantial growth in musicianship,” Jackson added. “Five students from Clinton High School, the most in several years, placed high enough in a district-wide audition to participate in the Southeastern District’s All-District Band. One student achieved the highest score in the state and was awarded first chair at the North Carolina All-State Band.”
Preparing for the Band Day required hard work and dedication from the band, and now, band members can focus their attention on other opportunities. Starting this month, the students from the band will be supporting Sampson Middle School in starting their own pep band and have started working on their halftime show, “Three Day Forecast.”
“With all the success from the previous semester, the band is gearing up for a busy fall and winter,” Jackson said. “With school back in session, the band can of course be found practicing into the late hours of Monday nights, cheering for the football team on Friday nights, and representing the school and community at various competitions on Saturdays.”
According to Jackson, Jordan has left the door open for future band days, but according to Tsao, made no mention of hosting a Band Day next year.
“I had the distinct impression that there were no plans to have a Band Day next year,” Tsao said. “It’s very disappointing for everyone, but most especially our seniors who were looking forward to this day.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.