Good Luck

December 05th, 2019

bandbones'That' Liberal Band gives a sneak peek of the upcoming fall performances Friday. L&T photo/Heather WattBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

With a new cadence and a new attitude, ‘That’ Liberal Band gave a sneak peek for their 2019 fall marching show, and it just might have fans standing at attention during their performances under first-year director Jacob Wright.

‘That’ Liberal Band will be performing a show they have titled “Assemble,” and it will feature the music from the Marvel Avenger series.

Those in attendance at the public introduction Friday were able to hear the familiar intro to all the Marvel movies performed by ‘That’ Liberal Band, and it filled the East Campus gym with a rendition that was not only easily recognizable but could have come from the Marvel recording studio.

Wright said that the show will push the band to a high level, but he said they were willing to accept the challenge by taking ownership of their own program.

“We reminded the kids that the program is theirs,” Wright said. “We had a pep talk today, and I said to them, ‘This program is yours, from the ninth to 12th grade. You’ve had a number of directors, this program has been around before I was born and will be around after I am gone. You create the pages in the book, your chapter. You make it.’”

Wright said he believed the students were ready to take ownership of the new style he plans to incorporate.

“I grew up competing in Bands of America,” he said. “It’s a drum and bugle corps style, more competitive. It’s not a complete 180 from what they’ve been doing, but they want that style of show. I had an opportunity to be immersed in that, and so were are heading down a more competitive path to compete for Division 1 and Superior ratings. We want to compete with bands from Broken Arrow, Okla., and Union, Okla. We don’t want to just say we went to the same festivals. These kids want it. They want to succeed, and they want to do well. With that attitude, they can do anything.”

Still, being the new director did come with its own set of nerves.

banddirector“I was anxious,” Wright said. “I just graduated college, and my first job is director at a 6A high school. It  is a big undertaking. I am coming to a part of the state that I am not terribly familiar with. I grew up in Kansas, but in Kansas City. It is a very different area out here.”

But the students and band boosters have been welcoming to Wright, and that has helped make the transition to lead a band that has had a storied past a bit easier, even if its more recent years have not been as successful. ‘That’ Liberal Band participated in the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Fiesta Bowl Parade in the late 1970s and early 1980s as well as marching in the Lordmayor of London’s New Year’s Day Parade in 1989.

‘That’ Liberal Band was under the direction of Richard Honish during that time before directors Jim Little, Eric Stambaugh, Lance Burnett and Grant Matthews headed up the program, and now Wright.

And much like the first-year show focusing on heroes, Wright plans on pushing ‘That’ Liberal Band to discover just how far they can go and to be the best they can be. 

“We have covered a lot,” he said. “From what I’ve been told, it was more in one week than previous band camps. We got excited about it, but the kids were ready to jump in to it and soak it up. This season will be amazing. They want success, and they feel like they own it. And that’s what we want.”

With a push from the staff, and the students pushing themselves, ‘That’ Liberal Band may experience a renaissance that returns the tradition of top ratings as well as dazzling the local crowd at games by providing entertaining shows with acoustical excellence and marching precision.

But Wright made it clear that the success will be determined by the members of ‘That’ Liberal Band.

“The program is theirs,” he said. “They have the initiative to say, ‘This is our program, we want it to succeed. We don’t want to be just another high school program.’ They are ‘That’ Liberal Band, and I think that has pushed them to go further than they thought they could go.






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