Founded 1963 Relaunched 2019. The Postmodern South.
Whitehaven Classic
Whitehaven Classic

Fairley vs. Hamilton at the Whitehaven Classic, 2011

The second game of the Whitehaven Classic was between Fairley High School and Hamilton High School. Fairley is a rather large school that usually has a band comparable to colleges in size and quality, and this year was no exception. Particularly first-rate is their drumline. Hamilton, on the other hand, is a sad shadow of its former self. For most of my youth, they were the high school band we most wanted to see at a parade or an event. In Christmas parades, they would march down the street a hundred strong, to a hard funk cadence provided by the drummers. Nowadays, they have only one tuba, only one or two bass drummers, one or two snares. Economic realities, crime and drugs have devastated the South Memphis area where the school draws its students from, and open enrollment has made it much easier for students to transfer out of district. It is all very sad to watch.

The end of the third quarter of Fairley and Hamilton was 10 PM, and I didn’t wait around for Whitehaven and Hillcrest.

Westwood vs. Mitchell at Whitehaven 2011

Memphis’ high-school football (and band) season got underway in earnest this weekend, with Saturday’s Whitehaven Classic offering a marathon three high-school games at Whitehaven Stadium. The first game, between Westwood and Mitchell, was delayed somewhat due to the heat, but as the day progressed and temperatures cooled, the crowds increased. Both Westwood and Mitchell have truly tiny bands this year compared to what I recall from the 1980’s and 1990’s. I suppose their enrollments are down as people have relocated to Hickory Hill, Cordova, Southaven and Olive Branch.