Since he was a 7th grader, Chris Taylor has been a fixture at the annual All-County Honor Band Clinic.
The Midland Valley High School senior and French horn player enjoyed his final appearance Friday night after practice with hundreds of other students throughout the day.
“Every year it gets better, but now I’ll be leaving something so great,” Taylor said. “It’s always fun to see old friends. You may not know all their names, but you always have fun with them.”
Aiken High band director Ryan Westberry and his students hosted the event. Students from Aiken County public high and middle schools, the AAA Home-School Band and the private Mead Hall took part in the event.
Middle schoolers performed in either the concert band or the symphonic band. High school students provided selections in that division’s symphonic band. David Hastings has directed the Midland Valley High Band for the past 13 years.
“What I like most is seeing this come together,” he said. “You can look across the bands and see all the different colored uniforms and all the bands represented throughout the county. It’s a nice picture moment to have.”
The guest conductors for the event were Jacques Jones, Burke County (Ga.) Middle School, Otto Hage, Pelion High School; and Marshall Kirby, who taught band in South Carolina’s public schools for 31 years.
The other county band directors include Barb Rollins, AAA Band; Denise Holley, Aiken Middle School; Sparky Noel, Kennedy Middle School; Chris Douglas, Leavelle McCampbell Middle School; Bonnie McNeill, New Ellenton Middle School; Jaime Powell, North Augusta Middle School; Jeff Clamp, RS-M High; Kristin Brown, Silver Bluff High; and Seth Forston, Wagener-Salley High.
Additional band directors are Randy Hood, Jackson Middle School; Derrick Parker, LBC Middle School; Chuck Deen, North Augusta High; Josh Workman, Paul Knox Middle School; Stephanie Threlkeld, Schofield Middle School; and Neil Nelson, South Aiken High.
Barb Rollins was thrilled to have 24 AAA band students take part in the All-County band program.
“Eight of them were first chair,” she said. “This is a wonderful opportunity.”
Randy Hood, the Jackson Middle School director, has taught band for the past 32 years.
“It’s wonderful to have All-County Band,” he said. “It’s a teacher workday, but all these kids chose to be out here, work all day and have a really great concert.”