Admiral Band prepares to sparkle on the field

Wendy SmithFarragut, The Farragut Insider

Farragut High School football fans will be seeing stars during halftime this fall, thanks to the Admiral Band.

Students began learning the new show, titled “Diamonds in the Sky,” during band camp, held the last two weeks of July. Band Director Kenneth Carrico is pleased with their progress.

“They move really well,” he says of this year’s competitive marching band, which has 146 members, including 62 freshmen. “And they still play extremely well.”

Carrico has a new assistant this year ‒ Rodney Brown, who was band director for West High School for six years. He’s happy to be part of Farragut’s program.

“They’ve welcomed me like one of their own,” he says.

“Diamonds in the Sky” is an interpretation of how the stars would sound, says Carrico. Electronic sounds give the show a futuristic feel, and the audience will recognize elements of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” woven throughout the show. Rihanna’s “Diamonds” will continue the theme.

Carrico and Brown worked with Synced Up Designs to create the show. The company wrote the music and sound effects, created the drill and provided color guard uniforms. Staff and students can view the digitized drill on iPads. The show was created exclusively for Farragut High School but could be performed by other schools in the coming years.

When the idea for the show came up, Carrico and Brown fell in love with it. Both men have young daughters, and they think a theme featuring stars will appeal to both the young and young at heart.

The band will perform the first part of the show at the FHS vs. Beech game on Aug. 19. The entire show will be ready for the field by the Sept. 23 showdown with South-Doyle. The next day, the Admiral Band will begin its competition season at Karns High School. Students will travel to four competitions this year, culminating with the Contest of Champions at MTSU on Oct. 25.

Being a member of a high school marching band is demanding. That’s why Carrico created two options for fall semester band students: class or competitive. Class members still learn the show, and even attend two days of band camp, but aren’t required to march at games or in competitions. The goal is inclusivity, he says. Many students are already stretched thin by AP classes or sports, and he wanted to give them a way to participate in band without the rigorous demands of the marching season. While there are 146 students in the competitive marching band, there are 180 total class band students in the band this fall. This is the second year he’s offered the class option, and he’s received great feedback from parents, he says.

Adding flexibility will help Carrico meet his goal of growing the band to over 200 members. Covid dealt the program a blow because it was difficult to sustain when classes were virtual. Concerns about the virus spreading via wind instruments also affected participation, Brown says. Current band membership shows the impact of Covid. While 40 members of the band are seniors and 55 are sophomores, just 25 are juniors (who started their freshman year in 2020).

Carrico and Brown agree that band participation is seeing an uptick, and both are optimistic that this year’s Admiral Band will have an exceptional year. Brown describes the young band members as having “musical naivete.

“They don’t realize how good they are going to be in a few months. They have everything they need to be successful. It’s really fun to watch.”

Town of Farragut communications manager Wendy Smith is your reliable Farragut insider.

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