Union County Schools Superintendent Ken Basil and the county Board of Education decided three years ago to start a county-wide band program.
Some in the community pooh-poohed the idea of the four diverse and competitive county schools agreeing to support a unified band program for the district. They predicted county-wide school cooperation wouldn’t happen.
They were wrong.
In the current school year, 170 students in fifth through ninth grades have participated in the band, which recently held its spring concert at Myrtle Attendance Center. The program currently has two band directors, one serving students at Myrtle and West Union and the other working with students at East Union and Ingomar.
Basil said more than 190 students already have signed up for next year, as the program expands each year as students progress through high school.
To deal with the increasing interest, the board Monday hired a third band director for next year. Basil said he expects a fourth director will be employed by May so that each school will have its own director next school year.
Basil said he hopes the band also will have uniforms some time in the coming school year.
“We’re trying to arrange a two-period block at each school so students can be transported to one school for the band to practice as a single unit,” he said.
The growth and popularity of the Union County Band is a tribute to the strong vision by Basil, supported by the county board, to implement county-wide programs to improve opportunities for students in our county schools.
The band, and the county-wide musical theater production, are steps in the right direction.