Supporting the band

Published 9:09 pm Friday, July 5, 2013

There’s something about a good high school marching band that shouts school spirit even louder than an undefeated football record or a state-championship basketball team.

Stand along the sidewalks at any of the parades that march down West Washington and North Main streets, and it’s easy to see what gets the people of Suffolk moving and cheering. A good drum corps, high-stepping majorettes and a brassy horn section will get the crowd on their feet every time. And one of the best parts about being a bystander at such events is being able to watch various parts of the crowd cheer for their favorite bands.

But there are many longtime Suffolk residents who will never again see their high school band perform in a parade or any other event. Graduates of Suffolk High School, Booker T. Washington and John Yeates high schools, for example, saw their schools represented for the last time years ago before they were closed. Today, they must settle for throwing their support to another Suffolk school or just reveling in the competition between the bands and the great performances that competition inspires.

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Nansemond River High School’s marching band has found itself the beneficiary of band members and fans of the former John Yeates High School Marching Band, who found common cause with the Marching Warriors during homecoming at Nansemond River last year. When the John Yeates alumni learned about the success of the Marching Warriors and about the funding problems the NRHS band faces, a group decided to work together to raise money to help the band and its current students.

Fundraisers are planned at Western Branch AMF Bowling Lanes in Chesapeake on July 27, at the school with the help of Chesapeake Square’s Outback Restaurant on Aug. 22 and at other events in the fall.

“It’s important for everybody to support their local band,” NRHS majorette Phylicia Nixon said recently.

The fact that folks would be so supportive of a band that doesn’t even represent their alma mater says much about Suffolk. And it gives everyone who enjoys seeing those bands reason to be even more excited about the parades where they’ll appear this year.