You hear talk about the East
Orange Unified Marching Band being a "family" and you
probably think that means they are good friends and have happy
times together. Well, yes, they do, but they also have problems
and getting through the problems with one another's help is what
really makes them more like a family. Without the help from this
Band family, some family members would be incarcerated, some
would have succumbed to drugs, some would be members of a gang,
and some would have dropped out of school before reaching this
moment. But there was always a band parent, or an alumni, or even
a fellow band member who got on the case of the erring student
and helped make things right again. Then there were those who got
stranded in the middle of nowhere in the middle of night, and
needed a ride home. There were those who were ready to quit and
needed someone to talk them out of it. It is the times of trouble
that shows you who your friends and family really are.
L-R: Foreground: Julian Boone. Middle row:
Alquadir-Marsh, Dashaun Hinson, Zhaneyah Kelly, Mr. Goode, Adnett Tomlinson, Isaac Davis, Alicia
George, Ms Saez.
Back row: Allan Theodore, Shalal Adolphe,Shakquel Peters.
But today, all of the troubles
are behind in the past and the present is a happy awards ceremony
for graduating seniors, and the future looks bright with all of
them having been accepted to a college or university of their choice.
L-R: Natalie Tomlinson, Quincy
Carter, alumnus, Shakquel Peters, Frederick Goode, Allan
Theodore, and Bria Douglas, alumna.
A history of drum majors is in
this photo. The oldest drum major in the photo above is Frederick
Goode, who was drum major for the Clifford J. Scott marching band
in 1988-89. Next is Quincy Carter, who was the first East Orange
Unified Marching Band drum major when the Band was at the old
Cicely Tyson school (the former VLD) 2007. Bria Douglas was drum
major for the East Orange Unified Marching Band from 2009-2011.
Allan Theodore was drum major in 2012, and in 2013 he was joined
by Natalie Tomlinson and Shakquel Peters.
Allan Theodore received a gold plated flute because he was
accepted to college based on his flute playing, although he also
plays the piccolo, trombone and saxophone. The flute was given to
him by the Band in recognition of his loyalty and dedication. Not
too many students have achieved the level of musicianship of
Allan; he is a "total musician" who can play the old
masters (Mozart, Bach, etc.) as well as jazz from Duke Ellington
to Charlie Parker, and anything in between. He has also arranged
and composed his own original music and frequently conducts the
Band on and off the field. We know he will make good use of this
award/instrument in furthering his promising career.
During the Cicely Tyson High
School senior Starlight Awards ceremony, seven Marching Band
seniors each received a laptop and two received televisions.
Above, we see alumnus Michael Gray giving senior Adnett Tomlinson
her laptop computer, and she already holds a blue
"Care" package in her hands. All nine Marching Band
seniors were given school "Care" packages, containing
stationery supplies, toiletries and the like to assist with their
transition from living at home to living on a college campus. The
rewards given to them were paid for by donations from the Music Under the Stars Concert, as well as donations from the Band Alumni, Band
Parents, and other individual Friends of the Band, most of whom
wish to remain anonymous.
Missing only a
photo of Shakquel Peters with his Band rewards for college, the
other eight students pose on the threshold of life. When they
return to us as alumni, to share their experiences and talents
with the next group of seniors heading off to college, the cycle
will be complete.