• 75°

Bands an essential part of football

The band plays on – the Tiger band, that is – under the direction of Rick Ashcraft, entering his 10th year at Greenville High School and 11th year in the city.

More than 115 GHS band members wrapped up an intense three-and-a-half weeks of band camp in July.

&uot;The camp went very, very well. It was a good start to the season,&uot; says Ashcraft.

In addition to a cookie dough sale planned for early fall, the band plans to sell citrus fruit during the holiday season, the director says. According to Ashcraft, fundraising is an absolute necessity for the biggest band in the tri-county area.

&uot;Many people just don’t understand how expensive it is to run a band program. We need some new instruments and we are still paying for the new uniforms we got last year. There are many costs involved with a band,&uot; Ashcraft explains. The GHS Band Boosters, due to elect new officers at press time, is a great help in keeping the music alive at GHS, says the director. Ashcraft encourages band parents and other school supporters to get involved in the program.

Panther pride

In Georgiana, the Panther Band welcomes a new director, Russell Hathcock. Hathcock has been hard at work rebuilding the school’s band.

While he started with only 13 students, the number had risen to 25 before the school year began. Hathcock is confident the growing trend will continue.

&uot;I feel we will continue to grow as the school year begins. We did have band camp this year and the kids did very well. I anticipate more students will decide to join us,&uot; the band director says.

Mona Wilson is president of the Georgiana High Band Boosters, According to Hathcock, the overwhelming need for the band department is new percussion instruments. &uot;Raising funds to replace them is our main goal,&uot; he says. Several band fundraisers (to be announced) are planned for the year. Wilson and Hathcock urge local citizens and merchants to support their local marching band.

Eagles soar

At Fort Dale Academy in Greenville, halftime entertainment is delivered each Friday night by the FDA Twirlers and Dance Team.

Shirley Hitson has been working with the FDA twirlers for 21 years. The varsity twirlers for 2004-2005 are Amy Arthur, Coby Greene, Kimberlee Johnson, Holly Arnold, Blake Bush and Amanda Foshee.

The girls practiced twirling routines together every Wednesday throughout the summer. During the school year, Stinson says her &uot;twirling dervishes&uot; put in several hours of practice on their own in addition to their instructional time with her.

Hitson’s experience, coupled with the girls’ hard work, have paid off for her young twirlers.

&uot;Our girls attended the Heart of Dixie Camp at Auburn this summer and they received an ‘Excellent’ rating at the competition held at the end of the week. They work hard to put on a good show,&uot; says Hitson.

The FDA Dance Team is co-sponsored by Suzanne Smith and Ginger Norman, with assistance from team founder Angela James. Captain Sally Burkett and Co-Captain Elizabeth Cauthen will be joined by Madison Norrell, Trawick Smith, Maryann Hancock, Katelynd Branum, Terra Whittle, Jennifer Thomas, Renae Stabler, Nikki Loftin, Morgan Burch and Brittany Singleton.

The dance team does double duty by performing at FDA football games and at home games during basketball season. They stay in top form by practicing Monday through Friday during the school year.

The group attended UDA Dance Camp this summer and returned to Greenville with a Superior trophy. Their sponsors were &uot;very pleased&uot; with the young performers’ efforts at camp.

&uot;Three of our girls – Elizabeth, Maryann and Trawick – made All-Stars and every single girl took home a ‘Superior’ ribbon for their individual performances…that’s impressive,&uot; Smith says.

Smith says the dance team plans to hold a dance camp in January as a fundraiser, with other fundraising events &uot;to be announced at a later date.&uot;

&uot;We hope Eagle fans will come out and cheer all our guys and girls on,&uot; Smith adds.