Fairley, Southwind and Lane College Bands Perform at Southwind Stadium

1832 Red Sky at Night1833 Fairley Band002 Fairley vs. Southwind003 Fairley vs. Southwind004 Fairley High School Band005 Southwind Sunset006 Fairley High School Band007 Fairley vs. Southwind008 Southwind High School Band009 Southwind High School Band010 Southwind High School Band011 Southwind Cheerleaders012 Southwind High School Band017 Fairley and Lane College Bands1835 Southwind Band
Southwind High School in Southeast Shelby County is a relatively new school, so when I saw that they were playing Fairley on the Friday night before the Southern Heritage Classic, I decided to go out there to watch the two bands battle. I had no idea that the band from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee would also be there as a special guest, since Southwind’s band was not marching on the field yet this year. Fairley High School has of course had a dominant band program for years, but the band is smaller these days since the school has been taken over by the state and made part of the Achievement School District. Their band still sounded good, however, especially the percussion section. Southwind also has made tremendous progress since the last time I heard their band. Unfortunately, during the middle of the game, storms and rain came up, and I had to go under the bleachers to protect my camera equipment. But the rain was gone by halftime, and never returned. There was no “fifth quartet” for the bands to battle afterward, but a small crowd remained to watch both bands march out of the stadium.

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.