Elba Marching Tiger Band preparing high- energy “Journey” show for upcoming season


Thursday, Jul 27,2017

In a word -  “rocking” best describes the Elba High School Marching Tiger Band’s 2017 marching season show as the band prepares to deliver a Journey-themed show.
The music of the rock band Journey continues today to be a favorite among music lovers, and the Elba High School Marching Tigers plan to bring it to life with their high octane show. The entire show will be Journey music all the way through.
The 2017 edition of the Marching Tigers includes 100-plus members, and band director Shaun Hammonds said he is really excited about this year’s show. This will be a larger band from last year’s Marching Tigers.
The band did a Journey show about five or six years ago, but Hammonds says this year’s show will be a “little beefier” than that show.
The edition of guitar and piano to the show will give it a full rock band feel. Hammonds says he expects the crowds to really respond to the atmosphere these editions provide.
“We’re a young group this year, but the kids have been working hard over the past few weeks,” Hammonds said. “I am really proud of where we are right now with the show. If football season started this week, we’d be able to put a show on the field.”
The drum line and auxiliary groups started preparing for the show two weeks ago with camp, and the full band is participating in its second week of band camp this week.
While Hammonds said probably 60 percent of the instrument players are seventh and eighth graders, he said the school system’s elementary band program has prepared them for high school band, and these students are excelling.
“I also have an outstanding senior class this year,” he said. “We will be looking to them for leadership, and I know they will do a fantastic job. We’re a small school here at Elba, but we have great kids, and that makes all the difference in the world.”
Speaking of the elementary band program, Hammonds said it is necessary to understand how important that program is to the school system. He said a good elementary program only makes the high school program better.
“We have an excellent music teacher in Brittany VanWinkle,” Hammonds said. “She is going to do a great job there for us.
Hammonds also said he wanted to give a shout out to the staff that has helped the band with this year’s program during band camp. He said these staffers include Jason Tucker, Brittany VanWinkle, Robert Clark, Connie Banks, Valiece McKelvey, Dave Melton, Blake VanWinkle, and Aaron Burkes.
“These folks volunteer to come in and help out,” he said. “I really appreciate what they do and their care for our kids. You surround yourself with good people, and you have success. That is definitely what is going on here.”
The band is continuing to raise funds for the March 2018 trip to Chicago. Hammonds said the cost per student for this trip is about $625. He said he divided up proceeds made from band day, which gave each student about $50, so, that still leaves $575 needed for each students to go on the trip.
“We have a lot of our students/families making payments on their portion, but at the same time, we have a bunch of families that have multiple kids in band,” Hammonds said. “They makes it costly for them. So, we area accepting donations if anyone out there would like to sponsor a student for this trip.”
He said anyone interested in helping a student and the band, can contact him at Elba High School for more information.
This also will be the Elba Marching Tiger Band’s 75th marching season in 2017, and Hammonds said big plans are being made to celebrate at Homecoming. Additional information regarding this celebration will be forthcoming.

Photo: The Elba Marching Tiger Band was hard at work Tuesday afternoon, July 25, preparing for the upcoming marching season. The band is in its second week of full band camp this week, and band director Shaun Hammonds excitedly said Tuesday afternoon that “if football season began this week, we could put a show on the field!” After the afternoon session inside (shown above), the band was back on the field Tuesday night.