MOLLIE S. WATERS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
Friday night during the Greenville vs. Carroll football game, the current Greenville High School (GHS) Tiger “Pride” Marching Band performed and cheered alongside the newly created GHS Alumni Band during the second half of the game.
The event had been planned for several weeks with Wendy Jenkins, a GHS alum, and Brett Johnson, current GHS band director, working together to bring the idea to life.
Before half-time, the Alumni Band members, who spanned participation from the 1980’s to 2015, gathered for food and fellowship at a special tent beside the field.
At the beginning of the 3rd quarter, the Alumni Band members marched into the stands and sat next to the current band members.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Brett Johnson. “The Alumni Band was the highlight of the night. As soon as they were announced and started marching into the stadium, the crowd went crazy, and the energy level of Tiger Stadium was at an all-time high with all the fans cheering them on.”
On hand for the festivities were former GHS Band Directors Rick Ashcraft and Richard DeLaFuente, who were recognized for their service to the Tiger “Pride” Marching Band.
Both current band directors, Chris Pryor and Brett Johnson, were also recognized for their work with the band.
Of the evening’s success, Ashley West, a 2004 GHS graduate who played clarinet and was a drum major her senior year, said she thought the event was great and well received by those in attendance.
“I enjoyed so many different things collectively,” said West. “It was great seeing so many people I haven’t seen in years. It’s like one big happy family.
“Playing all the old songs that we used to play was great, and of course, seeing our band directors, Mr. Ashcraft and Mr. DeLaFuente was, too. The whole night was a night to remember. I’m already looking forward to next year!”
Leigh Christianson, a 2010 graduate who played clarinet and was a color guard member, echoed West’s sentiments.
“Band alumni night was an experience I never expected to have,” said Christianson. “When people ask if I miss high school, I’m quick to say ‘no,’ but I do miss Friday night football and being able to march on the field.
“Having a chance to come back and be a part of this opportunity was a dream come true. I hope that in the future, we will be able to continue to grow this tradition and be able to march again.”