Good Hope Raider Band kicks off fall prep with new director

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The Good Hope Raider Band poses for a photo during band camp. New director Joshua Anderson is on the back row on the left. (Sammy Confer for The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – The Good Hope Raider Band is under new direction this year. Joshua Anderson, who graduated in May from Jacksonville State University with a degree in music education and was a graduate teaching assistant for the JSU band program, has taken over.  

Band camp for the group’s 47 members got started this week, and Anderson said he is excited to get to know the kids better.

“It feels great to be the new band director here at Good Hope. I’m ready to get started. With today being our first day of band camp, a lot of this has been just me getting to know the kids and them getting to know me a little bit as well,” he told The Tribune Monday. “I’m just trying to keep things light and fun for everybody. I want everybody to enjoy their time as we move forward through all of band camp together. The best way to learn so much in a limited amount of time is if we can just come together and just go at it. It’s been really fun so far and I’ve enjoyed getting to know the kids.”

Anderson teased a “legendary” halftime show for the Raider Band this fall.

“Our theme for this show is ‘Piano Legends.’ We’re trying to incorporate some musical artists from the past that are well known for their piano abilities,” he said. “Our fanfare’s going to be Billy Joel’s, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ mixed with ‘Piano Man,’ then the next tune will be focused on Jerry Lee Lewis: ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ Our closer’s going to be ‘Georgia on my Mind’ and we’ll have a little drum break. Then we’ll go into ‘Bye, Bye, Love’ and those are both based on arrangements by Ray Charles. We wanted to incorporate some popular music that maybe some parents can reminisce about.”

Of his time at JSU, Anderson shared, “It has helped me so much. While I was at JSU doing my master’s, I was also the graduate assistant of the band program there. I can’t say enough good things about the whole staff at JSU. They have absolutely prepared me for anything that is thrown at me so far. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can use what they taught me in the future.”

Drum Major Samuel Cregan has been a big help to Anderson so far, he said.

“He seems to be enjoying his spot. This is his first year as drum major, and he’s a very organized student. He’s been helping me a lot in terms of organizing everything we need for band camp. He’s been telling me what I need to expect from the kids and helping me get into this situation as smoothly as possible,” Anderson shared.

Cregan had high praise for his new director and his band mates, saying, “It’s been going good. Everything’s been great so far. Mr. Anderson’s been great. I like some of the ideas that he brings to us and how he runs things. He’s a very on-top-of-it person. Mr. Anderson’s been a huge help. My section leaders have been a huge help as well. We all work together to make sure everything’s good.”

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