Tahlequah Daily Press

November 7, 2011

Hulbert Schools resurrect music program

Some say the revival has sparked new school spirit.

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Students and staff at Hulbert Public Schools have given new life to a long-lost music program, and community support is soaring.

“We’ve heard so many people say that the spirit of Hulbert has really gotten better because we’ve got a music program now,” said HPS choir student Trico Blue, a junior.

Music programs like the choir offer a whole new experience, even for students familiar with music and instruments.

“I sing at church. I’ve done other choirs and everything, but as far as at school, it’s different,” said Trico. “I really wanted to try it out, because you’re with friends. You can be more relaxed with your friends.”

David Brown, a first-year teacher leading the band and choir resurrection at Hulbert, was given $23,000 over the summer to kick-start the program.

“I like that I didn’t have to walk into something that someone had messed up. It’s fresh – I can make it what I want to make it, and I have a lot more freedom than most band directors have, because I have the full backing from the administration,” said Brown. “It’s great to have that support, and I like that there’s such a positive feeling from the community about it. It’s not a dull ‘Oh, here come the band,’ it’s, ‘Here comes the band!’”

Ten high-school students are part of the choir, and 15 are in the band program. A seventh- and eighth-grade beginners band has a combined 45 students.

“It’s interesting to see the school spirit come from no where,” said Brown. “It’s good to see that it’s the spirit of Hulbert that has really gotten better. It’s fantastic. From the numbers I’ve seen this year, from the number of students enrolled in seventh- and eighth-grade band, if we move all of those up, our program is looking at 60 in the high-school band next year. We would be what I call marching size, and could actually contend with other high schools around here on the marching field.”

Though senior Melanie Carson won’t experience next year’s growth first-hand, she does know she’s part of the groundwork of what could become a lasting tradition. She participates in both band and choir.

“I wanted to try something new. I wanted to play the drums, but I actually play saxophone,” said Melanie. “Never in my life had I picked one up. But I like learning new stuff, and like the way we’re progressing our first year.”

School spirit has exploded, with the band and choir taking the field during home football games this year.

They’ll soon be involved in other athletic events, and have a December Christmas concert planned for the community.

Superintendent Dr. David Wilkins said he and school board members have made the program a priority since he came on board several years ago.

“The school board understood the importance of the band and choir programs,” said Wilkins. “Mr. Brown has done a great job pulling the programs together. He worked all summer getting instruments and music purchased and setting up an area for the band and choir to have class. They bring a lot of spirit to the games and to the school, and we are very proud of their work.”

Results of the program are, according to Brown, evidenced with a walk down the hallways.

“It’s interesting to watch students go from being a little droopy walking around, to having a little bit of pep in their step,” said Brown. “The first time we won a game this year, you could see it on their faces the next Monday. Every class was just abuzz, and really excited. In a couple years, there’s no telling what we can do.”