The Sparta Mighty Trojans Band is made up of far fewer men than the Trojan army of Greek mythology, but its bunch of students is just as fearless.
Following a roughly 20-year hiatus, the high school marching band reformed last year. It took home second-place trophies in each of the three competitions it attended, and left the Sparta community very impressed.
A handful of the band’s members recently played at an Aug. 21 Sparta Chamber of Commerce meeting. Sparta School District Superintendent Rocky Valentine and band director Sherry Nichols watched and listened carefully.
“We have around 200 students in our high school and around 50 in our band,” Valentine said. “This is the biggest band I’ve seen at the high school in my 10 years, as far as I’m familiar.”
It was around the 2005-2006 school year when Sparta’s band first began to fade out, according to a quote by high school alumnus Scott Poindexter in Christian County Headliner News archives.
“That year, the high school switched their schedule up,” Poindexter told the Headliner News. “It went from students having 10 classes a day to seven classes, so unfortunately, a lot of students weren’t able to fit band into their schedule anymore.”
As a result, the band’s approximately 35 members dwindled to about 15, Poindexter said. The 2019 band has almost doubled in size compared to that of last year’s.
A handful of the musicians were also at the chamber meeting to show off their talents, performing popular tunes such as Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.”
“I want to thank them for their willingness to miss a few hours of school,” Sparta Band Director Sherry Nichols joked.
Nichols spoke at the chamber meeting to share the band’s accomplishments, a result of her students’ dedication and hard work, she said.
“They were the first band at Sparta High School to perform at the Governor’s Mansion last November,” she said.
In addition to the three parade competitions the band marched in last year, the students hope to perform even better this year.
Success, however, requires tools—and the tools for success don’t come cheap. It’s why the Mighty Trojan Band over the summer saw the development of its own parent booster club.
“The band is growing, and we are excited to attend more competitions and offer students more opportunities in years to come,” a booster club informational pamphlet passed out at the chamber meeting reads. “The students and band boosters are also planning fundraising opportunities and hope to get more involved in the community.”
Currently, the booster program is raising money for a trailer that will allow the band to carry its equipment and uniforms.
“In the future, funds will be needed for updated and additional uniforms, more marching equipment and, hopefully, an out-of-state band trip,” the pamphlet reads.
Booster club president Amanda Morris said it’s important to support students in extracurricular activities, because it gives them an opportunity to explore their passions and future career paths.
“It encourages social networking skills and team building, inspires a sense of community and provides an outlet for creativity,” Morris said. “I didn’t play in the marching band [in high school]. It’s something I loved to do very much, which is why I’m happy to support my daughter, Shalyn Morris, because she loves playing in the band.”
Morris said Sparta is a community full of dedicated parents, though the booster club is still seeking any help it can get. Those interested in helping may make a monetary donation to the club, currently working toward becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, donate items beneficial to students during competitions, such as food, drinks and paper products, purchase a sponsorship for the display of a business logo on an upcoming program or trailer once it is purchased, and lastly, support band students by attending their events, encouraging them and participating in any booster club fundraising events.
“Ms. Nichols and our kids have worked so hard to bring the marching band back to life, and they are proud of everything they’ve accomplished,” Morris said. “I admire their teamwork, dedication and support for one another, but most of all, I love seeing them having fun doing it.”