WPHS Band has memorable year

The West PoInt High School Band is preparing for band camp this summer to be ready to entertain the Green Wave fans during the games next season.
Staff Writer

Not every student is cut out to be an athlete, some do not excel in academics, but for those who love and have an ear for music, the high school band may be a perfect fit.

"We have a lot of kids who can't play sports," Rickey Brown, director of the West Point High School Band, said. "We give them another opportunity to shine during the games by playing in the band. We can guarantee them a scholarship if they stick with it all four years."

West Point High School has a strong music program and art programs on both the north and south campuses.

"The arts are important to students to give them the best education possible," Brown said. "Art, music, sports and academics give everyone a chance to be good in something."

Brown believes the discipline that is involved with being part of a high school band is good for his students. They have to learn to practice, to listen to his instruction and to march in formation.

"When we go to competitions, I want to bring home Superior ratings," Brown said. "They cannot do that without learning self-discipline. They can't just run wild and expect to be the best. They have to work hard to achieve that goal. I expect hard work from all of them."

Brown is proud of his seniors. He said five students are already committed to playing for the Lion Band at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, and one is committed to playing for Mississippi State University.

"We've had a good year," Brown said. "We had our spring concert last night. We are having try-outs for the high school band, we are sponsoring a pre-band camp, then we have band camp in July."

"We have students who were in our band during high school who come back from college and help during the summer," Brown said. "And we love to have them. They are a huge encouragement to the students to stick with band and reap the rewards by receiving college scholarships."

Brown said with the closing of Central School and moving the eighth grade students to the north campus, there will be more students right there for him to work with.

"We can get a lot accomplished with more band students here in the building," Brown said. "There will be less of a need to stay after school when we can all work on our performance at the same time. To us, it is a blessing in disguise."

Brown said he sits in his truck every morning and prays for himself and his students.

"Some of these kids have problems at home," Brown said. "Music is a wonderful way to escape and focus on something positive. I believe in music as therapy. But I don't let them choose the music. I can't have music playing that has filthy lyrics. I try to choose upbeat, positive songs that aren't offensive to anyone. That leaves out a lot of what these kids listen to today."

Brown said the band will be working on a surprise routine for the first game of the 2018 football season.

"We will be working hard this summer learning new music and new routines," Brown said. "Everyone needs to come to the first Green Wave game of the season. Not only to watch our Greenies play but to support our band, as well."