Logan High School alumni to carry a tune for the Wildcats

Logan High School band alumni to carry a tune for the Wildcats
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 12:23 AM EDT
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LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - For decades, the Logan High School marching band has pumped up the student section at Wildcat football games, performed at competitions, and traveled across the United States.

However, the music has gone silent on Friday nights and throughout the halls of the school.

According to an Aug. 18 Logan County Board of Education agenda, board members approved the resignation of the former band director.

According to the district, without a qualified replacement, there cannot be a band at the school this year.

It is a difficult change of tune for Logan band alumni.

“When I learned it, I was very upset as was a lot of the alumni members and we’re just kind of wondering why it happened,” said Austin Campbell, a graduate who now lives and works in Kanawha County.

Campbell said as a kid, he did not have a lot of interest in playing sports and found a sense of belonging in the Logan Middle School band.

He played tenor sax until he graduated from Logan High School in 2010.

He said the skills he learned in band have helped him throughout his life, now working full-time in a Kanawha County law office, in addition to giving private music lessons.

“The band is great for a lot of things but for me, personally, it gave me a sense of belonging a place to be, a community, made lifelong friendships there,” he said. “I just felt like I needed a place to be, I could try something new and I was desperately looking for a community at 11 years old and the band sort of gave me that community.”

He said other alumni have shared the sentiment and have banded together to form the Wildcat Expeditionary Band to perform at Logan High’s home games.

He said the band even includes current students who could not join the band this school year, adding what is helpful is the support of Logan High School’s current principal.

“It’s been a great experience, I could only describe it as heartwarming to meet alumni from the same program as maybe but maybe there were 30 years prior,” he said. “Talking to all the alumni, it’s been very good we talked about our time in the band what did we play, what was our favorite thing it’s been nice to compare people and compare stories.”

In a statement to WSAZ, a spokesperson for Logan County schools said:

“The marching band at Logan High School has a rich history. Competing in competitions around the state, attending fairs and festivals throughout West Virginia, and playing on The Island on Friday nights. There has, however, been a drop in marching band enrollment over the last several years. Both at the middle and high school level. The marching band director position has been posted, but there have been no qualified applicants.

The lack of a marching band has left the Logan Community and the high school feeling like something is missing on Friday nights. To help with this, former band members, Logan area musicians, musicians from the Kanawha Valley, and current Logan High School students are forming a community band. Alumni dating back to 1962 are going to be a part of the community band.

The first practice is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23. Friday nights on The Island will once again be filled with the sounds of the Logan High Fight Song, the Star Spangled Banner, and other Wildcat favorites.

While the community band will not be able to compete in the high school marching band competitions, Logan High School students and staff and the Logan Community are appreciative of everyone in the community band taking time out of their schedule to make sure music fills the air on Friday nights.”

“All the extracurriculars you can be involved in in the school program can do a lot of good for a lot of students the things music can do building your character, but people who don’t do sports or the typical things for music might just turn down the wrong path or have an outlet or have a community to be to make friends, to learn,” he said. “The big takeaway is it’s important to a lot of people to see this happen and once the people do this how important this is that kind of support to us, as alumni to show this should happen.”

The Wildcat Expeditionary Band will make its debut on Sept. 30 for the Wildcat Homecoming against Nitro.