Despite its small size, the Ropes Eagle Band from Ropesville, Texas, soars head and shoulders above the rest.
Hi, I’m Morgan Miller. As an upcoming senior at small-town Ropes High School, I do everything there possibly is to do in a small town. I play varsity basketball, run cross-country, participate in Future Farmers of America, show sheep, compete in the University Interscholastic League, serve on the Student Council, have been inducted into the National Honor Society, and of course, proudly serve the Ropes Eagle Band as a drum major.
Music has always been a major part of life here in Ropesville, Texas. My class began learning how to read and write music in the third grade. We began playing the instruments of our choice a year later. I have been playing the flute ever since.
When we were in eighth grade, my class and I started high school band with a new director. Unfortunately, he left in 2004, and there was talk of closing down the program. But we were blessed the next year to have Mr. Stephen Martin come to us. He rebuilt the program and made it fun. After playing two years with Mr. Martin, one of my best friends, Hannah, and I were asked to become drum majors. Along with this honor, we received Mr. Jay Sedberry as an assistant director, a first for the band.
This year was one of the best years of band I have ever had. Being a drum major has opened the door to many leadership opportunities. I have been able to connect with the students from other grade levels. I have also become a go-between for the students and the teachers, who have now come to respect me as a school leader.
But being a drum major isn’t all fun. We help the directors coordinate the band’s movements, keep the band on the same beat and keep the eighth graders and freshmen in line. Without us, the band would probably be complete chaos.
We’ve had many good times in band this year. Every year before school starts, we take a trip to Sundown and have our annual pool party. Some of the parents cook hot dogs and hamburgers. Sometimes we even have a little entertainment. This year we had a few guys amaze us with their diving abilities. All I can say is they succeeded in entertaining us.
Football season brought many laughs to the band. For a few games, Hannah and I and a few others would just show up with our faces painted, our school spirit proudly displayed.
The first football game of the year was especially funny. While the majority of the band played the national anthem, a few of us were busy “hick-rigging” a quad set to a snare carrier with a piece of rope and bungee cords because the quad player left her carrier at the school. We eventually put the quad set on a cooler on the field, so that she could play it during halftime. Needless to say, the quad player didn’t forget her carrier again.
During senior night of football season this year, the Texas Tech pep band played with us. Celebrating senior “mess-up” night is one of the band’s traditions. The students pick their favorite stand music and go crazy on the field during halftime. Usually this tradition isn’t a surprise to our director, but our new assistant director hadn’t been informed. What makes it even better is that Mr. Martin gave Mr. Sedberry complete control over the night. Mr. Sedberry was also told that if anything went wrong, he would be in serious trouble. By the end of the night, the look on Mr. Sedberry’s face was priceless.
The Garden of the Gods
One of the best parts of band is the major trip we take every two years. Our last big trip took us to Corpus Christi. We had a blast playing on the beach, swimming in the ocean and eating fresh seafood. The teacher beach volleyball game was also a sight to see.
This May we are headed to Colorado Springs. We will be taking the Cog Railway up Pikes Peak, visiting the Garden of the Gods and doing so much more!!! On years we don’t take a major trip, we take a small day trip. Last year we went to Six Flags and rode rollercoasters all day long. Next year we are even looking at taking an overnight trip.
If you ask anyone, they will tell you that the spring concert contest is one of our strengths. We have come out of the concert contest with straight No. 1 rankings from all three judges for the past three years. In the fall of 2005, we got our first No. 1 in the marching contest and advanced to area. This achievement, plus our No. 1 ranking from concert season, got us our first sweepstakes in a very long time. This year we continued our newfound tradition by getting our second sweepstakes. The Ropes band hasn’t had back-to- back sweepstakes in over a quarter of a century. We were ecstatic!!!! We are now considered part of the elite four.
Next year looks to be another great year. Our upcoming eighth-grade players, including my brother, are very strong, and we are looking to have a good drum line. Hannah and I will return as drum majors and devote part of our time to training our replacements. We believe we have a really good chance of advancing to the area marching contest, getting our third sweepstakes and continuing a tradition that will hopefully last a long time.
Morgan Miller is left in photo.