Bobcat News

HOPE – The Hope Public Schools bands program is on the grow, but with growth comes a renewed need for community involvement, the president of the Hope Music Parents Association told the Hope Public Schools Board of Education recently.

Julie Russell, band student parent and president of the support group, addressed the changes in the program history from its early growth to its new iteration.

“We realized there was a need for additional support,” Russell said.

She said band parents began to attempt to turn around the fortunes of the program by finding new sources for resources. Russell’s point was expanded by Board President Linda Haynes, also a band parent.

“We want the community behind us any way we can,” Haynes said.

She invited local business leaders to investigate the bands program by attending performances, supporting fundraising efforts, and attending meetings of the MPA on the first Tuesday of each month at the Hope High School band hall.

With student participation across all grades projected near 300 next year, the program is garnering new recognition with qualification for state marching competition on the unit level and placement of students in multiple sections of regional and state honor bands.

“The quality growth is already happening,” HPS Bands Director Chris Davis said after the meeting.

Davis said the quantitative growth of the program is where the MPA has sought to make a difference.

“There are needs of the bands that the booster club wants to help with,” he said. “Like feeding the kids, hotel rooms for all-region competition, possibly state marching contest.”

Davis said band students loaded buses at 3 a.m. for Little Rock last fall to compete in the state contest at 10 a.m. the same day.

“Band camp scholarships, color guard camp scholarships, props, color guard equipment, perhaps, private lessons once COVID-19 settles down,” Davis said. “This is something that will allow the program to grow in quality.”