While Columbia County's football teams are getting ready to hit the gridiron, a different team will take the field with a new coach.
And she's carrying a baton.
Reid Hall takes over this year as director of the Marching Knights of Evans High School, a band whose worldwide reputation under retired director Richard Brasco was sealed with such performances as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the Lord Mayor's Parade in London.
"It is going great," said Hall after the first week of school. "I am trying to get a feeling for everything, scheduling and stuff like that we are trying to work out. Sometimes the preplanning stuff is hard to get through, then you get the kids in here and that is what it's all about."
Hall, the band director at Evans Middle School for 13 years, took the baton from Brasco, who retired in the spring after 20 years directing the band. She spent two years as his assistant before teaching at the middle school and last year learning the ropes of the high-school program beside Brasco.
"Well, I talked to my principal," Brasco said. "I told them that she was right person for the job. It was a real easy transition. The kids love her. The parents love her. She knows the program. Basically, what I was after was just to be able to step out and not have any bumps in the road. That is exactly what happened.
"It was for the kids and the program, too. A program like that, you don't want it to backtrack then have to catch up again. You want it to keep going."
Evans High School's new band director Reid Hall directs the movements of the band during
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Hall assisted Brasco during band camp, overseeing the halftime show throughout her 17-year involvement in the Columbia County program. She has no qualms of following behind a man who grew the program at Evans from 21 students to the 190 students marching at halftime this year.
"I miss him just because we had been such good friends," Hall said. "Right now he is getting to do all the things that he wanted to do, which is great, being able to travel and all. He and I worked together so long and I feel like it is so important as a middle-school director to be working with the high-school group, that there is not a whole lot of difference because I had been doing a lot of this all along.
"As far as following him, I just want to give the kids a good opportunity. I want to keep a good thing going. I want to try to make things happen there to keep the program strong."
Hall will premiere her first halftime show, with her assistant, Geoff Rosche, at Evans' first game 7:30 p.m. Friday vs. Greenbrier.
The entire show of Chuck Mangione's Latin Jazz will include Feel So Good, Children of Sanchez, Echano and El Gato Triste. The first show will include at least the first three numbers and a flag corps feature, Hall said.
She looks forward to band trips and sending in audition tapes for more exciting invitations to play.
"The band has such a good reputation. Hopefully that kind of thing will continue that we will get some pretty neat invites," she said.
Hall, who plays saxophone but tries to play a little of everything to help teach her students, considers her move to the high-school program the next natural step as a band director.
"You don't so this if you don't love it," Hall said. "It is exciting, it really is.
"I'm very, very loyal to this program. I would not have invested 16 years of my life in it if I didn't care. It is pretty doggone important."
What would a football game be without the dazzling half-tine show by the school bands? This year, Columbia County's bands already have performances lined up.
Augusta Christian Schools
Band Director Paul Roberts is trying to start a pep band made up of students, alumni and faculty to play at home football games. The Lions' first home game, which Roberts is hoping will be the band's premiere, is Friday vs. Tattnall Square Academy.
Evans High School
Directed by: Reid Hall
2003 theme: Chuck Mangione
Selections: Feel So Good, Children of Sanchez, Land of Make Believe, Echano and El Gato Triste
First performance: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Evans
Greenbrier High School
Directed by: Tom Smallwood
2003 theme: Chicago
Selections: And All That Jazz, Cell Block Tango, Swing, Swang, Swung and Mr. Billy Flynn and the Press Conference Rag
First performance: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Evans
Harlem High School
Directed by: Bob Willing
Selections: Salute to America's Finest, America the Beautiful and God Bless America
First performance: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Harlem
The band also will recognize veterans, active military, law enforcement, local and state officials and educators at all home games.
Lakeside High School
Directed by: Jim Tau
Theme: Classic rock
Selections: Hey, Jude, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, 25 or 6 to 4 and Come Sail Away With Me
First performance: Saturday at Richmond Academy
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