PHOTO: Faculty and students at Collinsville High School raise funds to bring back the CHS Marching Band. (Tanya Ford | Collinsville High School)
By C. Campbell, Staff Writer
COLLINSVILLE, Ala. — On Friday nights across Alabama, few sounds resonate as loudly as a high school’s marching band as they take the field during halftime, ready to enthrall the crowd with their stunning performances.
However, during Collinsville Panthers games, such entertainment has not graced the midway point of the gridiron contest for several years now. More recently, a campaign was launched to bring back the marching band at Collinsville, as a way for students there to once again enjoy what the musical world has to offer.
“Our goal is to give students who may not be as athletic an outlet to make them feel like they’re a part of something,” said Tanya Ford, a teacher at Collinsville, and arguably the driving force to bring back the Panther band. Furthermore, “It’s something nobody really sees a negative in.”
When asked, Ford described what has already been done to achieve this goal. A sign-up sheet was sent around the school to gauge the interest among Collinsville’s students about being part of a reborn band.
According to Ford, “We stopped counting at 120 names.” The next step along the way was to go to the DeKalb County Board of Education and request approval for the band’s reinstatement. In October 2015, the board did grant its approval, along with approving the creation of a Collinsville girls’ soccer team.
As of right now, there are still two main obstacles standing in the way of this dream being realized: money, along with the process of building up the band from virtual scratch. To raise the necessary funds, several fundraisers have been held, and more have been planned for throughout the school year. These have included selling cookie dough, sweatshirts, and raffling off various items.
At last count, Ford estimated that “We have a little over $5,000 right now.” She also stated her belief that the start-up cost for the band to return would be approximately $25,000, which is currently the goal these fundraisers and other donations are looking to meet.
As for a timetable about the Collinsville marching band once again taking the field, Ford had no exact date, but did have a well put-together plan on how to get there.
“We’re hoping to start some after-school music lessons in January to get things started and the students who are serious about this more involved,” she said. Following this, the first major goal was to put together a concert band of hopefully at least 50 students, which would build further interest and give those participating even more experience.
If all goes well, Collinsville will once again have a marching band to put on spectacular performances during football games. While the band may be predominantly just the halftime entertainment on Friday nights, there is no doubt that these young men and women work hard to prepare for their show.
They may have a different ability from those who put on shoulder pads and a helmet, but they are no less talented at what they do. When the Collinsville Marching Band once again takes the field, not only will a Friday night tradition have returned, but the students there will have yet another outlet where they can be a part of something something truly wonderful.