The Titans band march to the beat of their own drum major – Port Arthur News

The band Titans march to the beat of their own drum major

Posted at 12:30 a.m. on Friday, September 2, 2022

In Memorial High School’s first football game of the season last week, two things were undeniable: the score and the squad.

And there was no stopping the resounding applause as Titans drum major Amari Bullard started the performance at halftime by leaning back until his head hit the ground before snuggling up. raise.

Although it’s a tough routine, the high schooler said she usually drives the creative process.

“Usually I pitch an idea to band managers, and they approve or reject it, and sometimes I bring in former drum majors and ask them to help me out,” Bullard said. “But this last performance was me and a former drum major helping out. So it’s usually a personal thing, but I still have to get it approved by the band managers.

Her dance background played into her choices once she was a student at Debbie’s Dance in Groves. Bullard began dance lessons at age 10 and now takes classes in ballet, jazz, clogging, contemporary and modern musical theater, hip-hop and cutting-edge.

In addition to being a third-year drum major, she’s an honor roll student preparing to run for student council, led the school’s gaming club, participates in debates, and is a member. of the National Junior Honor Society.

And to do everything, she comes from Baytown by car, because her mother’s job at the school allows her to enroll.

But after graduation, she will leave behind her flute, her baton and her ballerinas.

“I want to go to New York University and be an accountant,” she said. “I don’t want to do any dance or band or anything. I really want to focus on academics. I would like to become a financial director.

But until then, she continues to lead the group in the best way possible.

“All of my sophomore year and freshman year, I wasn’t as dedicated to harmony as I should have been, but once I realized how much I really loved music, I was got more serious about it,” Bullard said. “Realizing that hard work pays off, I realized that I needed to practice instead of just being a drum major and marching. Sometimes I need to take the time to appreciate the music.

“Last year, I felt different about the band for the first time. This year, I’m really implementing that into my plan because I don’t want to drift into this major drumming mindset as I still have the skills to be a flute player.

This mindset is key when it comes to belonging to a group that is as much about fun as it is about walking.

Group principal Alex Frazier, who is in his 12th year at Memorial High School, said the incorporation of the two follows his college experience.

The Memorial High School group practices after school on Wednesday. (Monique Batson/The News)

“Myself and one of the other assistant managers in the band are both graduates of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and this band is really steeped in the traditional marching style that you would see, ala Michigan State or Ohio State,” he said. “But of course, being a historically black college, there’s a bit of a different style. So that’s something we’ve been very happy to be able to bring to our students, giving them skills on the move, but also giving them the chance to play the music they love. Play things that the crowd will react to and try to satisfy our crowd.

Frazier began his band life in Port Arthur where he played saxophone.

“I was actually one of the original members of the Memorial High School band,” he said. “I went to Lincoln last year where we had three high schools, so when we had the three schools combined, I was in the group. I was in second grade and played all through high school.

Getting back to where it all started was important.

“I really felt like in high school we had a lot of musical talent,” Frazier said. “But we weren’t in a place where we weren’t located near any of the historically black schools that I was interested in. It has always been my goal to come home and expose this to our area and hopefully even take it away from home. We were able to do that with our competitions.

They’ve had 12 straight wins over the past five years.

The group begins with three weeks of practice on weekdays during the summer from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to learn the fundamentals. Frazier said it allowed them to start the year focusing on practicing each game’s individual routine.

“Friday nights are always the best,” Bullard said. “The energy always rises from the crowd to the band to the cheerleaders – everything.”

And that, she says, is what she will miss the most.

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