SHS band director loves new job

Published 12:46 am Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Will Parker watches as members of the Straughn High School band work on the fundamentals of marching on Monday.

Will Parker is a man focused on fundamentals, and with the start of Friday night football a month a way, the newly-appointed head of the Straughn High School marching band has his work cut out for him.

This week, Sound of Gold members – all 40 of them – are working more than four hours a day to perfect their halftime show.

Parker is no stranger to hard work. A Bainbridge, Ga., native, the 2012 graduate of Troy University served as the “Sound of the South’s” assistant drum major and the technical services coordinator for the John M. Long School of Music.

Parker said he found out about the SHS opening from a former teacher and when called for an interview, came away impressed with the small Covington County town of Andalusia.

“I guess Mr. (Shannon) Driver, (SHS principal) was impressed with me too, because I got the job,” Parker said. “This is a great community. Everyone knows everyone and you feel like part of a community.

“I’ve played in the band since I was in the sixth grade,” he said. “I knew from the eighth grade on that I wanted to be a band director. Now, I finally have the job of my dreams.”

On Monday, students started at 8 a.m. working on the basics of marching. They broke at noon for lunch and then returned at 5 p.m. for approximately three hours of instrument practice.

“I’m pushing a lot of fundamentals to begin with,” Parker said. “We’ve got to get back to the basics of being a marching band. The key is keeping the kids motivated. We’ve got an exciting year coming up, and I know that the expectation is high because I’m new. I think we will deliver.”

He said this year’s halftime show is a Superman-themed show.

“If you’re familiar with the movie, then you’ll know this music,” he said. “Plus, I think it’s relevant with the new Superman movie coming out. This show was planned by the former band director, and I think it’s a good pick. People will see some new things visually, which are my add. I’m not going to give those away.”

Parker said students can begin marching in the band in the seventh grade. He said he hopes interest in the program will increase enough to stop that practice.

“I had a teacher one time tell me that if you realize how hard it is to walk and chew gum at the same time, then you know how hard it is to be in a marching band,” he said. “That’s why we’re starting with the fundamentals of marching. It’s hard enough to count your steps in your head, but when you add an instrument and playing music to that, it can be difficult to learn.

“But these guys, they’re doing great,” he said of the band.

Parker said he has three rules for band members.

“You get them, and you’ll do fine in my band,” he said. “Instill a positive attitude and be willing to help a fellow student. Second, have structure and be organized. And thirdly, be on time. If you’re supposed to be on the field at 8 a.m., be here at 7:45 a.m.

“Remember those rules for life, and you’ll do fine is what I tell them.”

Parker is the son of Robbie Parker of Bainbridge, Ga., and Gina Skinner of Winder, Ga.

Students will continue to practice Monday through Friday until the start of school.

Parent preview will be held on Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.