Meek Band of Champions girding itself for halftime

Tenth-grade Meek band students Amy Farmer, Carroline Baker, Vallyn Frith and Karlee Akins (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

ARLEY, Ala. – The Meek Band of Champions is in its final week of band camp. Last week saw the percussion section and color guard practicing, as well as new band members, plus the full band in the afternoons. This week will be all hands on deck, with alternating schedules of sectionals and marching drills.  

This year’s halftime theme is “Sparta,” based on the music from the movie “300.”

Band Director Zach Cleghorn is in his second year, and said, “We’re already vastly ahead of where we were last year.”

Cleghorn attended Meek from kindergarten through 12th grade and performed in the Meek Band of Champions under the direction of Nancy Frith. About returning to his hometown school to direct the band he started out in, he said, “It’s an interesting feeling. It was not the plan – it was not the life plan, but God knows better than we do. I love the kids here.”

Frith, who was the band director for almost 20 years, recently returned as the school’s librarian. Cleghorn said he is excited to have her available to help out with the elementary band.

“She’s really good at elementary bands, maybe the best that I’ve ever known with elementary bands,” he said.

The high school band currently has 31 members and one new seventh-grade rookie. In the past, the Meek band has marched with beginning sixth-grade students, but this year, Cleghorn said, it will start with seventh grade.

“I didn’t have a lot of time last year to make sure that my elementary band was ready to do this. We’re working on elementary band and having a better plan this year. I think we could feasibly march 50 here every year, but we have some growing to do,” he said.

New Drum Major Hope Jacobs is going into her junior year. She’s been in Meek’s band since fifth grade and now helps train younger students. She said she is confident in the band’s ability to pull together a great show.

“We’re definitely doing a harder show. I feel like the music is really hard, but I think we can pull it together,” she said.

The Meek Band of Champions will be going to marching competitions this year starting in late September. The annual ice cream social and performance for band members’ families will be at the end of band camp Friday.  

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