Warrior Marching Band preparing upbeat show with new director

Hayden Hyatt/The Cullman Tribune

West Point High School Warrior Marching Band percussionists play during their band camp at West Point High School.

WEST POINT – The West Point High School Warrior Marching Band, as with two other bands in the Cullman County area (Good Hope and Hanceville), has a new director this year. Director Bobby Patrick and his students are preparing an upbeat show for this year’s season, which kicks off this week.

The band is doing an Elvis Presley-themed show this year, inspired by one of the staff members at the school.

“It was basically chosen because there's a worker here at the school that runs the snack bar and she's going to retire at the end of this year,” Patrick explained. “She loves Elvis and that was how the show came about.”

Viewers can expect a cheerful show.

“It's definitely upbeat; it's Elvis.” said Patrick. “We're going to start off with 'Also Sprach Zarathustra,' also known as the ‘2001’ (‘A Space Odyssey’) theme, also known as what Elvis came out on stage to, then we’re going into 'Burning Love,’ one of his hits, then we've got our features for our auxiliaries that's got everything from 'Heartbreak Hotel' to 'Soul Bossa Nova.' (We're) probably going to close out the show with a love song, 'Can't Help Falling in Love.'”

The show will even feature an appearance by Elvis himself.

“The beginning will be really big and flashy, that's about the best way to put it,” Patrick said. “Of course, we're looking at adding all the fun stuff, props and everything else. Elvis is probably going to make a showing himself. He will be on the field.”

The halftime performance is sure to be a crowd pleaser, which Patrick says is what it's all about.

“We want to be interactive with the crowd; we want the crowd to get into what we’re doing,” said Patrick. “That's really what marching band is about.”

“I've been able to get to know the kids, the kids are getting to know me and it's going really well,” shared Patrick. “The parent support here is just awesome. That's the only way I can put it. I can't count how many parents have said 'If you need anything, call me' and what they don't know is, I’ve got their phone numbers, I will,” he joked.

In addition to the support from family members, “A couple of different members of the administration came out to our first rehearsal night and it was really cool to see the administration taking such an active interest in what's going on with the band program,” said Patrick. “It shows that they're behind what the band program is doing, and it shows that they're interested in not just in the band program, but they're interested in the kids that are involved in it.”

Patrick continued, “But that's what it takes. If you're going to have a successful program, of any kind, whether it’s band or anything else, you have to have not just your students and not just a director or staff, you also have to have that administrative support and you have to have the parental support,” Patrick said. “From what the parents have told me, the public has supported the band program, especially over the last few years. It's been great and I’m excited to see and hear what that's like and experience that for myself.”

Although the WPHS band has a big marching season ahead, Patrick is also looking into the future.

“In 23 years of teaching, I have never come into a band program where I felt instantly that I was at home. You can tell it's a family,” said Patrick. “That comfort level has put me at ease personally. I'm not a short-term person; I'm looking at this as a long-term project. This is my last stop. I'm looking at what could be with the community support, with the parental support. We have a lot of needs, but I can tell that the parents are ready to do whatever it takes to get whatever these kids need.”

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