Drumming up support: Millwood band alumni go back to school to aid students

A group of former Millwood High School marching band members are practicing with the school's current members as part of an effort to show support and restore some of the band's traditions.
by Carla Hinton Modified: October 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm •  Published: October 8, 2013

The complaints were blunt.

A few former members of the Millwood High School marching band recently took to social media to air their concerns about the current band's performance during halftime at a local football game.

“Facebook was lit up like a Christmas tree,” said Rolanda Walker, of Edmond, a 1990 graduate who played the flute and served as a flag corps member while attending the school, 6724 Martin Luther King Ave.

Anthony Goodman, the school's marching band director, said he saw the Facebook comments and challenged the critics to come to the school and help.

So a group of between 20 and 30 band alumni did exactly that.

They have been practicing with the school's current band students and spent several hours on a recent Saturday marching, twirling flags and performing Millwood band standards like the school's fight song, “Let's Win!”

Some have searched through attics and closets, in boxes long forgotten, for their band instruments. They've adjusted their schedules as high school band directors, city leaders, preachers and working parents to return to the independent public school to help bring the tradition of the Millwood marching band back again.

Some former band members will perform with the band during a homecoming parade through a nearby neighborhood on Thursday, and during portions of the football homecoming game on Friday.

“The plan is for the alumni to play during homecoming, so dust off the instruments and stretch the muscles,” Jenni Breshers Woods, a 2000 graduate, told alumni who gathered for a recent meeting.

Jonathan Craig, 37, a 1994 graduate, said there was never any doubt that he would lend his support.

“I love Millwood. Falcon pride never dies,” Craig said. “When they told me the kids need our help, I wanted to help.”

The school's new superintendent, Cecelia J. Robinson, said she agreed with Goodman's challenge.

“One of things we have here is the slogan ‘We are Millwood,'” Robinson said.

“So alumni, when you're talking about Millwood, that's you too. If you want to see something different, then come help make it something different. Don't sit on the sidelines. It's our kids that we're talking about, so come help.”

Music and memories

For many decades, the Millwood marching band was known for its stylish flair and repertoire of a wide variety of music, ranging from classical music to the latest R&B and pop hits.

The drum majors and majorettes strutted with an air of confidence, high-stepping as they led the band along parade routes and onto football fields.

And the band members could dance, too.

Some fans of football teams in some rural Oklahoma towns anticipated the game against Millwood, just to see what the band would perform — and how it would groove — under the Friday night lights, said Lisa Greene, 47, an Edmond resident and a 1984 graduate and band alumna.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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