John Howell Sr. editorial 4/17/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring band concert sure sign that winter is gone

To some it is given to listen. That’s a conclusion I’ve come to as I have watched the musicians of my generation age only to get better and better at their music.

From my sixth grade year forward, the late Lamar Ferguson tried to find an brass instrument that I was suited to play, starting with trumpet, then French horn, then baritone horn, switching from one to another every few years before my eligibility expired and poor Mr. Ferguson resigned himself to failure.

Yet I enjoyed those years of band immensely, courting the girl I’d later marry, pulling pranks with (and on) people with whom I value yet as lifelong friends and even learning more about music than I ever realized at the time. Not that I ever learned to play an instrument nor even sing, but I would later discover that I had learned to enjoy listening, so I do.

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Spring band concerts were a rite of passage then as now. Ours were performed in the auditorium that now serves Batesville Intermediate School. If I recall, there were seats that remained vacant in that auditorium during our concerts.

So it was pleasant to read in Brother Rupert’s story on page 1A that South Panola Band Director Richard Shirey solved a problem of overcrowding at concerts by South Panola’s bands.
Last spring he moved the concerts from the high school auditorium to the Batesville Civic Center. Where formerly there was hardly enough room for family members to all find seats, there is now room to seat all bands from grades six through high school on the Civic Center’s main floor and audience seats for everyone who wants to attend.

The bands are having their spring concert next Tuesday at 6 p.m. Some of the young performers will continue with their music and only improve for the rest of their lives; some may learn to listen. All will make memories that they will cherish many years from now.

Everyone is invited. Admission is free. Another winter is behind us.