FHS gets ‘new sound’ from AHS grad

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Josh Sheffer directs the FHS band recently. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News


Josh Sheffer is bringing a new sound to Florala as the school’s new band director.

Sheffer, a 2008 Andalusia High School graduate and four-year band member, is a recent Troy University grad.

In fact, only days after his graduation ceremony, he was sitting in the Covington County School’s central office, interviewing for the position left vacant by the retirement of Terry Spader.

“I interviewed, and the next day, they told me I got it,” Sheffer said. “It was amazing.”

Sheffer said he knew in the sixth grade that music would become his life.

“It was the first day of band camp, and I knew it was something I would enjoy,” he said. “Music was an academic that I excelled at and had a chance for success. Honestly, that’s why I went into music. I really appreciated growing up with the opportunities of success that I got, the lessons of excellence and the attitude and pride that I learned in Andalusia.”

It’s those qualities Sheffer hopes to instill in his new students, he said.

His work was evident even after a few short weeks in the post when the band made their first public performance at Florala’s annual June 24th Masonic Celebration parade.

It’s also evident each Friday night at the football games and in the days before as students wear their official band shirts.

“Believe it or not, those shirts don’t say ‘band’ any where on them,” Shefffer said. “Designing the shirt was one of the first things I did when I got here. The front says, ‘Florala Wildcats,’ and the back says, ‘Pride is what we do. Excellence is how we live, and success is what we achieve.’

“It’s a purpose that students can apply any where – in the band room, on the field and in life,” he said. “I thought of it when I was reflecting on an interview with Joe Paterno’s son when they were calling his dad’s integrity into question. He said, ‘This is the thing – success is something that is undetermined by the world. Excellence is something you live out every day. Couple that with a high level of expectation – and I do have a high level of expectation for my students – and those are things that you have to have to qualify you to be eligible for success.’

“In Florala, we’re working hard to be a success,” he said.

Students this year will be performing “Party Rock Anthem;” a Jackson 5 medley of “I Want You Back” and “AABC;” a drum feature version of Aaron Carter’s “I Want Candy,” and ending with Elvis,’ “A Little Less Conversation.”

“It’s entertaining to say the least,” Sheffer said of the show.

While at Troy, Sheffer earned a bachelor’s degree in music education while serving for two years in Troy’s Sound of the South band and two years as a resident assistant on campus.