Oak Mountain’s marching band steps into new season

Published 1:09 pm Thursday, August 11, 2022

By EMILY SPARACINO | Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Oak Mountain High School’s “Spirit of Cahaba” Marching Band is ready to reach new heights with its 2022 halftime show.

Titled “Flight: Music That Soars,” the band’s show will feature a medley of musical selections from “Top Gun,” “Peter Pan,” “Mary Poppins,” “Star Trek,” “E.T.,” “Harry Potter” and the spiritual song “I’ll Fly Away.”

“We always create ideas in the spring, and then we come to a consensus of what we think will be the most entertaining for our crowds at football games and band competitions,” Associate Director of Bands Travis Bender said. “It’s going to be a great show.”

With 231 students, this year’s band is roughly the third-largest band the school has had, and only 23 members shy of last year’s 254-member band, Bender said.

The students spent several weeks rehearsing the show and preparing for the upcoming season at band camp on July 18-Aug. 5.

“It was shockingly great weather, and we didn’t have too many days in the 100-plus heat index,” Bender said. “Overall, it went really well. The attitudes of our kids this year are fantastic.”

The band also had a chance to share its first full performance of the show at its Family Night on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The band’s first halftime performance of the 2022 football season will come Friday, Aug. 19, when Oak Mountain hosts Northridge.

The band also will perform at the annual Shelby County Schools Showcase of Bands, which Oak Mountain will host this year at Heardmont Park on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Other events on the band’s slate include the Hewitt-Trussville Marching Invitational on Oct. 1, the Tennessee Valley Marching Festival on Oct. 15 and the Mud Creek Marching Festival on Oct. 22.

As an added bonus, the Oak Mountain Percussion Ensemble has been invited to perform at the Alabama Music Educators Conference at the BJCC in January.

In other news, the construction of a new fine arts building at OMHS is steadily progressing.

The building will provide more space for the school’s band and choir programs.

“It’s coming along well,” Bender said of the project, noting electrical and plumbing work at the site is complete. “They are about to pour the foundation of the building. Once that’s done, we should start seeing visible progress very quickly.”

The facility is expected to be finished by Thanksgiving next year and ready for use in January 2024.

The roughly $7.6 million project is the first expansion of the OMHS campus since 2005 and will provide more space for the school’s many band and choir students.

The new band room will be called the Jim Duren Band Room in memory of the school’s first band director, who passed away in 2020 from COVID-19 complications.

Another facet of the project will involve renovating and converting the existing band and choir room into additional athletic facilities.

The project adds another layer of excitement for each program as students and staff start a new school year together.

“I think that’s one of the highlights in the community each fall—filling up the stadium and rallying around the team and the cheerleaders and the band,” Bender said. “It’s an exciting time.”