Former students to honor longtime band leader Ikard
For 30 years, Curtis Ikard served as the director of the Russellville High School Marching Hundred and the high school show choir.
During that time, he instilled discipline, passion and many other positive traits into the countless students that he worked with. Now, some 25 years after his retirement, many of Ikard’s former students are working to show him just how much he is appreciated.
The “Curtis Ikard Performing Arts Scholarship” has been established for a deserving RHS student beginning this year and a new annual award called the “Curtis Ikard Challenge Cup” will be presented at the Tri-State Kudzu Klassic Marching Festival each September.
“A couple of years ago I was at the Kudzu Klassic and they were giving out awards and I kept waiting for one to be named after Mr. Ikard,” said former Marching Hundred member Trent Stephenson, who has helped organize the efforts.
“He is the one who helped build a lot of the tradition that the band here has and he had a great impact on a lot of our lives.”
A surprise visit to Ikard this summer convinced Stephenson that he needed to do something for the man who led the marching Hundred from 1957 to 1987.
“When I was at his house, another former student, Shannon Scruggs O’Neal, stopped by to tell him that she had nominated him for the Alabama Music Educators Hall of Fame,” Stephenson said.
“We began talking and we both knew we had to do something for him.”
Ikard, who is 84 now and living in Florence, said the honors are humbling.
“It’s awesome that former students would do something like this, especially after all these years,” Ikard said.
“We had a lot of great times through the years when I was at Russellville. There were many special students that came through and who went on to do great things.”
One of the highlights of having the award at the Kudzu Klassic on Sept. 29 at Russellville Stadium named after him is that a reception will be held from 5-8 p.m. that night in the school cafeteria. That will allow Ikard the chance to meet and greet many of the former students that he mentored for so long.
“That is something I am really looking forward too,” he said. “I haven’t seen many of them in a long time.”
A meeting will be held at the high school fine arts center at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6 to discuss many of the plans for the event.
Stephenson encourages all former show choir and Marching Hundred members who worked with Ikard to attend.
“We have heard from a lot of people from the 1970s and 1980s, but we want to encourage people from the 1950s and 1960s to come also,” he said.
A Facebook page has been established at http://www.facebook.com/CurtisIkardPerformingArtsScholarship .
“He just had such an impact on us and this is something he deserves,” Stephenson said.