Recent efforts to help restore the luster of the Millwood High School marching band have focused on coming homecoming activities.
However, the school's beloved former band director Edgar Scott, 72, and others said it will likely take the next several years to see the program back on its feet.
Scott, whom band alumni described as part teacher, part preacher, said he would like to see the school teach students in fifth and sixth grades how to play instruments so they can be taught to march with the band in the seventh and eighth grades and on into high school.
“People take music and musicians for granted. They think that music happens overnight, but it does not,” he said.
He told the group he would help repair instruments and lend his support in other ways, as well.
Terry Walker of Oklahoma City, mom to four Millwood graduates, said she is now helping to set up a band booster program like the one she headed for many years in the 1970s through the mid-2000s. The booster group was known as “The Firm” for its flourishing bank account (through numerous fundraisers and parental involvement) and its no-nonsense approach to excellence and getting things done, she said, grinning. She said the band now needs instruments, funds and help from the community.
One of her daughters, 1996 graduate Courtney Walker Stampley, 35, said the alumni have been focused on helping the band have a successful homecoming performance experience because “it's only right that we help these current students have that too.”
She said band alumni have been showing up to help because they remember the band's glory days.
“If we didn't enjoy band, none of us would be coming back.”
Other alumni said much the same thing.
Ann Ali Gaines, 46, of Oklahoma City, said she was a member of the Millwood drum line during the 1981-82 school year. She said she saw a Facebook post about the band's need for alumni support.
“Any way we can give back, we should. We put a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears in this,” Gaines said.
Meanwhile, several band alumni said they may need more time to learn their instruments again.
Jolinda Franklin Daniels, 38, said she tried to help her daughter Cherish, 11, a current Millwood band member.
“I picked up my daughter's flute and I couldn't remember a thing. I could teach her how to blow, but that's it,” she said, laughing.
Plus, some said it might take a while to get back into proper “band shape.”
Rolanda Walker of Edmond, a 1990 graduate who played the flute and served as a flag corps member, acknowledged that most of the alumni haven't thought about marching in a band for many years.
“We may need some Bengay and some Epsom salt when this is all over,” she said, grinning.