Troy’s Homecoming Parade Committee aims to rekindle band participation
Published 9:59 am Friday, June 9, 2023
If you have ever stood on a sidewalk and felt the concrete shake beneath your feet from the rumbling drum line of a marching band, then you understand the joy and excitement of a great parade.
There was a time when numerous high school bands would participate in the annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce “Troy University Appreciation Day Homecoming Parade,” and a new group of supporters is working hard to increase those numbers again.
“Our focus has been making personal phone calls to every band director and letting them know what we are offering, and how much we want them to be a part of this parade,” said Dana Sanders, Executive Director of the Chamber. “We believe establishing this personal relationship with each school is very important.”
In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s there were as many as 15 bands in the parade each year, but in the early 1990s those numbers declined as a result of several contributing factors.
In recent years the parade has consisted of the Troy University “Sound of the South” and three to four of the area high schools.
As of June 7, that average number of four bands per year has increased to a commitment of 10 for 2023.
“Our committee’s motto is ‘Bring Back The Bands,’” said Willie B. Williams. “The homecoming parade is a historic event that means so much to the community, the university and downtown Troy, and we are sharing new ideas to encourage more high school bands to participate.”
The committee of Dana Sanders, Dianna Lee, Christy Pittman, Willie B. Williams and Dan Smith has met numerous times this spring in preparation for the Oct. 7 homecoming parade.
“Our goal was 10 bands, and while we have met that goal, we are still working to surpass that number,” said Smith, who also serves as the chairman of the homecoming parade. “While our primary emphasis is each school within a reasonable driving distance, we have also been in positive discussion with potential bands from as far away as three hours and would also love to have those bands from Florida and Georgia return again as well.”
The main incentive for 2023 will be a $500 check for every high school band to participate, as well as complimentary tickets to the football game, which are provided through a sponsorship of local businesses. Last year there were four sponsors, and there has already been verbal support from more local businesses to sponsor a band this year.
“We truly could not do this without the support of our local businesses,” said Christy Pittman. “It cost so much more for bands to travel and participate today, and we hope this $500 will go not only towards travel expenses, but any other needs that band program may have.”
A new approach this year was reaching out to the high schools in the spring, while band directors may be penciling in parades and band festivals for next fall. The committee also believes there are many people in the area that have a direct link to high school bands across Alabama and hopes those individuals will volunteer to join in the effort to help in the recruitment process.
“If there is someone that personally knows a band director or has a connection with a high school in another city and can help us recruit that band, we would be thrilled to have them assist,” said Dianna Lee. “We have received several suggestions recently and we are encouraging anyone and everyone to help us reach out to these band directors and schools. We want anyone and everyone to help in our effort to ‘Bring Back The Bands.’”
If you would like to assist in recommending or recruiting a specific band to the 2023 Troy University Appreciation Day Homecoming Parade through a personal connection you may have, please email Dan Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 334-670-6067.
Any business that would like to sponsor a band can do so by contacting Dana Sanders at 334-566-2294, or emailing email@example.com.