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PTHS band stays in tune with the 'End of the World'

by David Snow
The Paducah Sun
July 29, 2019
Used with permission.
The Paducah Tilghman High School marching band will start this year's show with the end of the world -- but things get better after that.

James Gregory, who begins his fifth year as the PTHS band director, said the theme for this year's program, which will be performed during football halftimes and band competitions, is "A World Reborn."

"We're kind of playing off the nature aspect of it," Gregory said. "We're starting off with REM's 'It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).' We're taking the approach that this is the end of the world -- everything's getting blown up and what have you.

"The second tune that we're playing is 'Allegro barbaro' by Bela Bartok, and that's kind of saying that people have screwed up the world and we're kind of upset about it. Then, our ballad piece is going to be Michael Jackson's 'Human Nature,' where we start asking questions about why these things are happening. Then, our closer is 'Down Comes the Rain,' which is a piece written by Hidden Citizens, where the world resets itself." 

The soloist in this year's program is junior Jenna Price, who will play trumpet in "Human Nature."

This year's band of 72 performers will play in front of a series of backdrop illustrations of a city in ruins that transforms from the desolation of world destruction into a city of promise and rebirth.

Paducah Tilghman is coming off its best band finish to date -- 12th in the state semifinals last year, the highest it has ever placed.

"We're looking to build on top of that," Gregory said. "One of our goals this year is to finish in the top 10."

This year's schedule is not yet complete, but there are some set dates. PTHS will open Sept. 7 at McCracken County High School's contest, which is not sanctioned by the Kentucky Music Educators Association. The band is penciled in for two contests Sept. 21.

"We have the Hopkins County Central marching band competition in Arlington, and we also have the Graves County marching band competition in Mayfield," Gregory said. "I put both of those things on there because we may do both of those or one of those two. I need to see how a few things, scheduling-wise, play out with that."

Paducah Tilghman will take part in the Christian County Tournament of Bands on Oct. 5 and take Oct. 12 off for fall break before the Oct. 19 KMEA regional competition at a site to be announced. State semifinals and finals will be Oct. 26.

"What I'm looking forward to this year is to continue building on what we did last year on top of making sure that the students get everything that they can out of it through music," Gregory said.

"At the end of the day, I'm an educator. I have to make sure that I'm applying what I need to make sure that those students are successful through music."
Photo caption: Paducah Tilghman High School trombonists (from left) Mikhail Pacheco, Gage Gottman and Bryce Johnson -- along with color guard member Janiah Browne -- practice at the Memorial Stadium parking lot in preparation for the 2019 marching band season.
Photo credit:: David Snow 

Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019