Band, community make a statement

Hallie Hartman's mother, center, addresses members of the THS wind ensemble before an April 14 concert at the school. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Hallie Hartman’s mother, center, addresses members of the THS wind ensemble before an April 14 concert at the school. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

When I walked into the Thompson High School auditorium lobby last Tuesday, I could already feel the energy associated with an entire community coming together to support one of its own.
I was quickly greeted by about a dozen student and parent volunteers welcoming the evening’s crowd into the lobby, and certainly was not alone as I arrived at the benefit concert about a half-hour early.
As the clock inched closer to 7 p.m., seats in the auditorium began to fill with a wide range of visitors both young and old.
While the THS wind ensemble routinely packs the venue during concerts, this night was different.
Before the band concert began, Hallie Hartman’s mother walked onto the stage and thanked the band members for their dedication to helping her daughter through a situation that would be difficult for anyone, much less a high school student.
For the past several weeks, Hartman has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, and was expected to go home on April 15 for a few weeks before returning to the hospital to undergo another round of chemotherapy.
A few days before she was scheduled to board the bus with her fellow THS band members to travel to the National Concert Band Festival from March 12-14, Hartman was diagnosed with leukemia and was forced to miss the trip.
So during the pair of benefit concerts last Tuesday, the wind ensemble brought its Indianapolis concert home to Alabaster.
After a staggering 850-plus students attended the first benefit concert of the day, more than 250 attended the evening concert. After all the donations were in, the concerts had raised more than $5,500 for Hartman and her family.
“Thompson High School and the Alabaster community really came together on this one,” THS Band Director Jon Bubbett told me after the concerts. “We were very happy and very pleased.”
That’s what community is all about.