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Bob Jones Band marches to awards with ‘The Flame’ field show

MADISON – Bob Jones High School Bands won crowd appeal at football games and highest awards at contests with their rhythmic pop music and homage to witches in “Hocus Pocus.”

The ‘football band,’ which performs a halftime show and in-stands music at football games, has 175 members this year, including 13 dancers, 26 color guard members, 29 percussionists and 100-plus winds (brass and woodwinds).

“Our competition band has 121 members this year. We have 13 color guard, 29 percussion and around 80 winds,” Leigh Thomas said. Thomas is Bob Jones Director of Bands. Kevin Smart is Assistant Director at Bob Jones.

Drum majors for 2022 are Emma Cook, Taylor Cunningham, Anaya Parker and Putri Wasistho. Charlie Grimes serves as Band Captain.

Section leaders, usually a member with seniority and superior musicality, assist directors in confirming that members follow on-field direction:

* Flutes — Katerina Fedoseyev and Bethany Stoots.

* Clarinets — Rylie Boynton, Kayla Orso and Hayden Purser.

* Alto saxophone — Andrea Hansen and Aidan Reyes.

* Tenor saxophone — Colby Sheehan and Sydney Truesdail.

* Trumpet — Shelby Ball, Anna Digges and Lauren Geary.

* Mellophone — Paige Hughes.

* Trombone — Audrey Groger and Gibson Purser.

* Euphonium — Andrew Huh.

* Contra — Connor Bailey and Josh Rigby.

* Percussion — Josh Boyd, Ariana Fulda, Max Hamlett, Ryan Shurtz and Daniel Wright.

* Color Guard — Olyvia English, Evie King and Nona Sellers.

* Dance Team – Nora Adams and Lillian Martin.

The 2022 football show, “Game On,” features “Eye of the Tiger,” “Jump,” “Final Countdown,” “We Are the Champions” and “All I Do Is Win,” along with video game themes from PacMan, Super Mario Brothers, Tetris and Zelda.

“We took inspiration from Mrs. Sylvia Lambert, Bob Jones Principal, saying ‘Game On’ and paired popular sports anthems with popular video game music,” Thomas said. “We have a game console at the front of the field with TVs that animate a Bob Jones band member through various video games. One of our band parents worked on writing the program with his team that does a similar task for the Army (animation and simulation),” Thomas said.

“We’re extremely proud of the students’ hard work this semester. The ‘football band’ has done a great job supporting our team with the cheerleaders and performing with a ton of energy every Friday night,” Thomas said.

“The Flame,” Bob Jones’ 2022 Competition Show, “is loosely based on the Disney classic ‘Hocus Pocus’ in honor of the second installment that came out at the end of September,” Thomas said.

Musical selections include “One Way or Another” by Blondie (featured in the second movie), “Symphonie Fantastique: Movement 5” by Hector Berlioz, “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey and “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, made famous by Bette Midler in the first movie.

“This show has a ton of effects to surprise the audience, including a giant cauldron with smoke, the spell book from the movie and other hidden features. It is fast-paced and fun, just like the movie,” Thomas said.

Soloists for the field show are Hayden Purser, flute; John Baumbach, tenor saxophone; quartet with Colby Sheehan, alto saxophone, John Baumbach, tenor saxophone; Anna Digges, trumpet; and Gibson Purser, trombone.

Featured dancers portraying the Sanderson Sisters from “Hocus Pocus” are Nona Seller, Evie King and Katherine Williams/Lillian Martin.

“The competition band has taken a major step forward this year. This show is the most difficult show we’ve done in my 11 years at Bob Jones,” Thomas said. “Our students have risen to the challenge. The demand on them musically and visually is simply amazing.”

Also this year, Bob Jones had a separate competition uniform without a shako (band hat). This change stretched band members to use their faces to tell the drama, comedy and high-energy story, Thomas said.

The staff includes Mike Miller, wind/electronic arranger; Jason Palmer, percussion arranger and drill designer; Kevin Tran, front ensemble arranger; Ian Bowie and Frank James, band staff; Tori Lewis and Taylor Gilbert, Color Guard Directors; Yunona Shkolnikov, Color Guard Staff; and Dani Oliver, percussion staff.

On Sept. 24, Bob Jones competed in Stones River Championship at Siegel High School and ranked fourth place overall. At Stones River Classic at Riverdale High School, the Patriots earned first place, Grand Champion; Best Overall for guard, music, visual and effect with 10 bands total competing on Oct. 15.

Bob Jones competed in Alabama State Marching Championship at Tuscaloosa County High School on Oct. 22 and achieved first place, Class 7A Band; Best Overall for music, visual and effect; and reached the highest overall score of all competing bands in Classes 1A through 7A.

On Nov. 5, the Patriots will enter the USBands Southern States Championship at Alabama A&M University against 12 other bands from the southeastern United States.

“We’re so glad the students have been rewarded for their hard work and perseverance at our last two competitions and look forward to representing not only our hometown but our entire state at the upcoming USBands Southern States Championship. We are the only Alabama band out of 13, so we hope to have a great performance!” Thomas said.

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