Westview Band Preps for Competition Season

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Annual band supper set for Sept. 26; tickets on sale until Monday

By Sabrina Bates

Editor

This year, the Westview High School Marching Band is going to be “Flying Above the Clouds.” Of course, not literally, but their musical selections for the upcoming performance season will showcase how they have “The Right Stuff.” Audiences are sure to experience a sense of floating as they are taken to new levels when they hear “Fly Me to the Moon.” Add to that a sense of soaring as the band performs their renditions of “Birdland” and “Firebird,” and a handful of other songs.

Each year, the Westview band spends its Saturdays in September and October traveling near and far to compete against other school marching bands in their respective divisions. Considered one of the oldest band programs in West Tennessee, behind Shelby County, the Westview High School Band originated in 1930. Through the years, the band has brought home numerous awards for their many competitions in Percussion, Overall Band, Color Guard and Drum Major/Field Commander categories. And the members have no plans of stopping that long tradition of excellence any time soon.

This year’s group of musicians were found practicing for eight to nine hours for two weeks right before the school year began. Even amidst the wretched temperatures, their dedication and pride remained evident as they prepped for a performance “sneak Peek” for parents and grandparents prior to the start of the school year.

Once school was back in session, these same band members can be found staying after classes end for the day for two to three hours to continue perfecting their pieces for the start of the competition season. All of this practicing is in addition to time spent rallying the crowd and taking the football field at half-time during the football season. Dubbed as the “12th Man,” the Westview football program considers the band a part of the heart and soul under the Friday night lights.

While football fans may see the band in the stands, providing pep music during games, providing opening music when the players take the field and hauling their equipment onto the field during halftime of each game, community members often don’t see what goes on behind the scene to make all of this happen.

After spending the week in after-school practice, band members head to the school early on Friday afternoons to load up their equipment onto buses, along with coolers filled with water bottles, fruit and sandwiches - mostly all paid for and prepped by band parents known as Westview Band Boosters. In between practicing field and stand music, they choke down their sandwich dinners before they have to take the football field to open a game with the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Midway into the second quarter, they find an empty space away from the game to continue practicing their music in anticipation of the half-time show. Parents help them load their equipment onto and off of the field and into the buses after half-time. They get a slight break in the third quarter for bathroom breaks and maybe a chance to get concessions. They load up on the buses post-game and head back to the school. Beginning next Friday and Saturday, that schedule will grow exponentially. After they return to Westview from the football game at Dyer County, band students load up what they will need for Saturday’s marching competition at South Gibson. This event marks the beginning of their competition season. On Friday, a group of parents will stay behind to gather snacks and drinks and prep lunch and dinner for the group for Saturday, where the band will experience a nearly 14-hour day. From there, Westview Band’s Saturdays will expand in length as their next week takes them to Arington.

In October, the band travels to two Saturday competitions in Arkansas and one in Illinois for even more opportunities to represent Martin, Tenn., and in the hopes of bringing home shiny awards to add to the school’s trophy cases. For anyone who has had a chance to be in the band room at Westview at 4 a.m. on a Saturday morning, one would see some sleepy, but smiling students loading up their buses, undeterred by the time of day, or anxiety that comes with a performance or dread for the long day ahead.

To help offset the cost of transportation to and from games and competitions, as well as the cost of uniforms and potential repairs throughout the school year, the Westview Marching Band hosts two major fundraisers - the annual band supper and a holiday fruit sale.

The band supper is around the corner and parents are busy making plans for smoking meat for barbecue sandwiches, deciding who will make the slaw and baked beans, who’s willing to make desserts and who has coolers to store all of this food. In addition to planning, parents and band students are busy trying to sell tickets at $9 each to community members. It is an annual tradition for the band to provide performances during the annual band supper event. The informal event will be held Tuesday, Sept. 26 on the grounds of Westview High School. It is also a day of early dismissal from school. Visitors can drive up to pick up their barbecue plates, drinks and have their choice of homemade baked goods that average $1 each. In addition, if guests want to bring chairs or blankets, or even sit in their cars, band members will offer a performance outside (weather-permitting) as is tradition.

The band supper is the largest single fundraiser for the Westview Marching Band. Tickets can be pre-ordered from any band member. Orders and money are due by Monday, Sept. 18.

The fruit sale begins Oct. 25. In addition, band members will be asking community members to sponsor a calendar day in October for their trip fund. Every three years, Director Mike Tucker plans a performance trip for the band, where they will travel out of state to perform in places such as Orlando, Florida. The next school year, the band is raising funds to travel to Washington D.C. to perform at the nation’s capitol. The three-year rotation allows every band member an opportunity for at least one out-of-town trip, an experience that is described as unforgettable by all members.

Tucker has served as the band director since 1992. Jennifer Cupples serves as the assistant band director and director of the Jazz Band. This year, Kathryn Moore joins the team of directors. Becca Steele is still assisting the band, but has moved into a role at Dresden High School as they prepare to revive their band program.

The Westview Color Guard is under the direction of Misty McGregor and Rachel Abbott.

Westview senior Samantha Bates leads the marching band this year as drum major/field commander. She is the daughter of Sabrina Bates and David and Laura Bates of Martin.

Leading the color guard as captain is senior Gabrielle Price. She is the daughter of Priscilla and Michael Price of Martin.

The band is always on the lookout for corporate sponsors, meal sponsors for football games and Saturday competitions and donors in general. Anyone wanting to grab band supper tickets at $9 each may contact any of the listed band members or message the Westview Band Boosters Facebook page. Watch the social media page for competition announcements and upcoming events.

2023-24 Westview Marching Band Members

Woodwind

Samantha Bates - Field Commander

Ellie Brewer

Grace Perry

Taneea Mason

Hayden Oliver

Sadie Claiborne

Addison Galey

Gabrielle Dement

Ava Winstead

Kadance Brewer

Darcy Thornton

Ke’Myra Edwards

Aidan Armstrong

Lena Zimmerman

Brody Vance

Scarlett Newsome

Brass

Braden Kendall

Brodie Estes

Andrew Glass

Savannah Hagan

Rachel Bowlin

Harper Bartholomew

Memphis Hudson

Cole Dickson

Lucy Oelrich

Cami Berry

Grady Dickson

Daniel Kang

Nicholas Edwards

Izaiah Chua

Marquerous Turner

Percussion

Vincent Butero

Jerzey Avent

Tre’Gen Ervin

Trent Hazlewood

Bryson Farlow

Akeisha Chua

Isaac Ostenson

Cami Carlson

Ethan Brewer

Joey Richardson

Larson Claiborne

Color Guard

Gabrielle Price - Captain

Josei Freeman

Kandace McDade

Sydney Hunt

Emma McGregor

Neela Hernandez

Charlie Rogers

K’Malyah Espinal

Lydia Thorsen

Directors: Mike Tucker, Jennifer Cupples, Kathryn Moore and Becca Steele

Color Guard Directors: Misty McGregor and Rachel Abbott