Straughn FFA String Band wins state competition

Published 11:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

FRIDAY, JUNE 23 CORRECTION: In the “Straughn FFA String Band wins state competition” article published Saturday, June 17, a first-place finish at the 2022-2023 FFA String Band State Competition was reported as making history for the school. The Star-News recently became aware the 1948 Straughn String Band also won the state competition and represented Alabama in the National FFA Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. The Star-News apologizes for this error.


The Straughn High School String Band made history last week with a first-place finish in the state at the 2022-2023 FFA String Band State Competition on Wednesday, June 7.

Taylor Weeks has served as the school’s String Band sponsor for the last six years.

“SHS has come very close to winning at the highest level for several years now, and to finally accomplish that goal is very rewarding. SHS’s 2019 FFA Quartet won at the state level, but this is the first time String Band has won. What these students accomplished this year is nothing short of fantastic,” Weeks said.

Students put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the state competition each year.

“We practice all school year preparing songs for events that we get the opportunity to perform at within the community. Once students return to school from Christmas break, we really get to work and focus on FFA competition sets and building a performance. Our set consisted of a bluegrass instrumental with ‘Flint Hill Special,’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart,’ and ‘Hurricane’ by the Band of Heathens. With our four competing members, we featured banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, drums, bass, and outstanding harmonies and vocals.”

This year’s competition was held at the MPAC Center in Montgomery.

“I love having the opportunity to serve Straughn in this capacity. I have always loved singing, playing guitar, and performing. I love getting to work with students who enjoy the arts as much as I do. Unfortunately, FFA does not have a national string band competition. Alabama is actually the last state to still have String Band. Does that mean we can claim national champions, too?,” he said.

Weeks added that SHS ended the school year with seven total band members, including four at the state competition.

“I’m so happy for the students. They have put in a lot of work to secure this win for our school, and I’m proud of how well they represented Straughn High School. They felt pure joy when it was announced they had won because we had come so close so many times. The students had put in so much hard work and had an amazing performance.”

The band looks to build on the win when the 2023-2024 school year begins in August.

“Moving forward, I hope this accomplishment will promote our SHS string band further into the community for performance opportunities and inspire other students. More than anything, I hope it will highlight the importance of having performing arts programs in schools and maintaining support for those programs,” Weeks said.

They expressed gratitude to those around them for their support and encouragement.

“The support from the school and community has been great. Without their support, we would not be able to attend these events and provide opportunities such as this to the students.”

For more information call the Straughn High School office at 334-222-2511.

“Congratulations to our SHS String Band on being named state champions. They worked hard all year and played and sounded fantastic. We are so proud of our students, and thank you to Mr. Weeks for your leadership,” Principal Matt Cobb said.