With a gray sky overhead, the Thomas Dale High School Marching Band brought fireworks to the students of Marguerite Christian Elementary the morning of Thursday, Sept. 22, converting the school’s bus loop into a musical arena for the massive crowd of children.
It was during this 30-minute performance that these very young students would see both hope and opportunity in their future as students of Chesterfield County Public Schools, according to Marguerite Christian music teacher Ellen Sapko who played a major role in coordinating the event. She felt seeing the marching band was beneficial to the little ones because it showed them what they could one day do themselves.
The band’s 120 members, which also included the Color Guard, began unloading instruments and other equipment at 10 a.m. while virtually every Marguerite Christian student in attendance that morning poured in single-file lines to see what many had probably never experienced.
Within minutes, the marching band assembled in its place, and their heavy booms and loud crashes kept the undying attention of the students. After playing a few numbers, the performance became an educational event as band members played their instruments one-by-one for the students but only after band director David Holley first called out each by their musical name.
“This really gave the young students an opportunity to see what they could be doing in high school,” Holley said. After the performance, he said the band would also perform this fall at Enon, Elizabeth Scott and Harrowgate elementary schools. “Not only was it a potential recruiting effort, it was also kind of an ego boost for my kids. It was nice for
them to give back to the community and show some of their old teachers what they had accomplished.”
The morning ended with the marching band playing their traditional fight song.
For Marguerite Christian Head Principal Dr. Carolyn Tisdale, the experience may have planted a seed in a few of her students.
“This was so wonderful for the students because it may have given many something to aspire to,” she said. “With the stresses that come along with extensive testing standards, students at this age need to really enjoy coming to school – and after all, music is a bridge to education.”