By ZE’MIRAH HARRIS
Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack. Clack. Crash. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Crash.
The drum major twirls his mace and brings his whistle to his lips.
The dancers start their eight-count.
The flag girls swing their hips.
And then, Band Director Kenneth Northcutt gives them the signal.
Tweee-eeet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.
Hundreds of Goldsboro High School students, staff members, and alumni bend their necks. They have been waiting for this moment for years. And when the percussionists sound off their thuds, clacks, pows and crashes, it happens.
Dancing. Screaming. Arms in the air. The horns and drums might now be moving underneath the bleachers, but they echo across the football field and vibrate the metal benches above.
The GHS Marching Band is back.
Hundreds of eyes were fixated on the football field during halftime of the Homecoming game a few weeks ago. The court — and the crown — were important, but it was the band, dance team, and flag girls that brought the house down.
For Northcutt, it marked the culmination of more than a year of work.
“It is a challenge, but it is also rewarding because the kids finally get to get something that they’ve been wanting for years,” he told the Pride. “They want something they can be proud to be a part of and to help rebuild and to create their own legacy for themselves. That first performance, they basically came together as a full marching unit in a week.”
Horn Line leader Jamilyon Waters agrees and said he was humbled to be given command of his section and was proud that his “hard work from last year and other years of band has paid off.”
And that is what Northcutt is most proud of. Sure, bringing the band back to GHS is a badge of honor. But it is teaching his students about the value of hard work and perseverance that means the most.
The students understand it, too. They put in long hours after school and their work can be heard across Goldsboro after the sun goes down. But being pushed by Northcutt has given them a respect and love for him that showed when they talked to the Pride about how much their teacher means to them.
Want proof? Come out to the final home football game of the season Friday and watch the way the students and their instructor interact with one another. Then, listen and enjoy. And when your hips start moving and your head starts rocking back and forth, you will understand that for this band, 2018 is only the beginning.
“Being the band director is what keeps me getting up every morning,” Northcutt said. “And I know no matter what, my students are always going to be excited to see me and are always ready for the next day.”
And you better believe they will be ready Friday. Will you?