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franklin county times

Phil Campbell Alumni Band performs at halftime

Fans at the Phil Campbell–Colbert Heights game Friday night got an October treat at halftime: Twenty-two former Bobcat band members joined the current band for the Senior Night halftime show. They performed four songs, including the fight song, “Bobcat Battle Cry,” and the alma mater.

Phil Campbell band director William Stacy said he wanted to showcase the tradition of the Bobcat Marching Band.

“The band program at Phil Campbell has always been held in high regard,” said Stacy, who has led the band program for six years. “It was a great opportunity for everybody to see where we started and where we came from. We wanted to pay homage to all the people who paved the way for the program to be in the shape that it is.”

Stacy said it wasn’t hard to get the project together once word got out.

“We had several people express interest and sign up. I knew it would be a good success, and I think the fans enjoyed it. I know the band did.”

Karen Gilbert, a member of the class of 1977, was one of the participants in the alumni band. Gilbert, who was Karen Oliver in high school, said she started marching in the band in the sixth grade, playing the flute.

“Being in the band is one of my most special memories,” said Gilbert. “I loved it. I wanted to be a part of it one more time tonight. I was a little nervous, honestly. The fight song – I might remember it ’til the day I die.”

Three former majorettes were also part of the halftime show: Tammy Hutcheson Jeffreys, class of 1990; Amanda Benford George, class of 1988; and Whitney Roberson Cole, class of 2006. They all agreed they wanted to be out under the Friday nights lights one more time but also hoped to inspire more girls to want to become majorettes.

“We wanted to see old friends,” said Jeffreys. “They don’t have any majorettes at Phil Campbell anymore, and we wanted to help get some excitement back to the band program for twirlers.”

Gilbert, who is a retired teacher and currently teaching math part time, said band is a very important part of school for many students.

“They might not relate to a lot of other things. Not everybody is a sports kid. I wasn’t,” Gilbert said. “The band was my little niche. It was perfect for me. I made some of my most special friends and gained so much from it.

“This is a skill I learned 44 years ago, and I was able to practice a little and walk out onto that field and play. There are not a lot of skills kids can learn where they can use it throughout their lives,” she added. “Learning to play a musical instrument is one of those skills.”

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