The Cole R-1 (Russellville) band program is blossoming, adding more members and reaching new heights.
Band Director Nathan Gargus said he is proud of his students' accomplishments. Gargus, who was widely credited with revitalizing the band program, looks forward to leading an expanding program. Although the program graduated only three seniors this year, Gargus said he may welcome many new musicians into the high school band and looks forward to playing with a bigger, more complex sound.
"It's good to see these kids progress from year to year as a teacher," he said. "Through the year, though, the musicianship once they get a rhythm and a little confidence with their instrument, that should last them forever."
He added, "I'm just super proud to see how far they've come."
While he is excited to greet new students, Gargus said it was bittersweet to see his 2018 seniors move on to new opportunities.
When the band isn't honing its skills at basketball and football games, they are competing in their own respect. The Russellville High School band earned its third consecutive II rating March 16 at the MSHSAA State Large Ensemble Festival.
Ethan Huff and accompanist Kayla Stewart, as well as Jake Keller and accompanist Bev Meyer, earned silver medals April 26 at the MSHSAA State Solo & Small Ensemble Festival.
This year, Russellville had a record number of 51 students participate March 2 in the Central Methodist University Music Festival, including seventh- and eighth-grade musicians.
For a weekend field trip, several middle and high school band and percussion students traveled April 14 to the Missouri Percussive Arts Society's Day of Percussion at Battle High School in Columbia.
"We got to see numerous great clinics and performances throughout the day, ranging from traditional Ghanian dance troupes and percussion players to a special guest lecture from Paul Rennick, from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, to Dr. Shane Mizicko from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, discussing accessory percussion and much more," Gargus said.