Hough High band reflects on its first year
by Staff Writer
When Hough High School marching band director Rob Carrington found out that a band from eastern North Carolina didn’t have uniforms to wear during performances, he could empathize. His first-year band faced a similar situation while waiting on uniforms to be delivered in the fall.
So Butler High School’s marching band donated its old uniforms to the Huskies. So Carrington and his students decided to pay it forward.
The Hough band passed those donated uniforms to a band from Camden County High School, whosemembers were performing in plain clothes.
The old uniforms, which feature a “B”–for Butler – emblazoned on the front, turned out to be a perfect match for the Camden County Bruins. Remarkably, the black and silver uniforms also matched Hough and Camden’s school colors.
Carrington said a uniform can make a big difference in a band, and he should know. The inaugural year of Hough High’s band was focused on team building.
The Huskies have persevered through a challenging, but exciting, first year, at a school where everyone began the year as the “new kid.” But Carrington said those circumstances actually worked to the group’s advantage.
“There wasn’t a dominant thought of ‘we did this at our school so we should do it here,’” Carrington said. “It was not a problem at all. It’s as if we were not even a first-year program.”
Following the fall marching season, the program added a winter guard, jazz ensemble and symphonic band. In addition to the marching band’s 18 awards earned throughout the 2010-11 season, the winter guard placed second at the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association’s finals, while the symphonic band earned the highest rating possible at the South Central District Bandmasters Association concert band competition.
Percussion students combined with band members from Northwest Cabarrus High School to form Revelation, a percussion ensemble, which also took second place at the Carolina Winter Ensemble Association finals competition.
Although the addition of one more class of students, plus senior leadership, should help Hough carry on momentum from its inaugural season, band parents said there is more to the program than just accolades and awards. Band booster vice president Rosanna Sarka said the experience helped her son, freshman Jon-Robert Pancoast, adjust to high school. Because he bonded with fellow band mates at the group’s summer camp, he entered the school with an automatic group of friends.
“Our family came into this program absolutely blind; we had no idea what we were getting into,” Sarka said. “It’s been a phenomenal year of growth for our son, who was terrified about coming into high school.”
Band booster president Karen Raboin had a similar experience with her son, Presley, a rising junior. He came to Hough from North Mecklenburg High School, and the band helped him find his place in a sea of new faces.
With the toughest year behind them, Carrington said the group will continue to build new traditions and memories, refusing to copy programs at other schools.
“We are still trying to identify who we are as program,” Carrington said. “I think we will really find that out when the freshman class we started off with become seniors in a couple years. They tend to create that identity.”