Salem Spartan Band uniforms come marching in

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Photos by Shawn Nowlin

Saxophones and Sousaphones warming up at a recent band competition.
Austin Jennings playing the flute.

Members of the Salem Spartan Marching Band aren’t used to losing, on or off the field of competition. They’ve won numerous awards including the 2016 Grand Champion Trophy over the years.

Heading into this year, band members needed new uniforms though. Like “really” needed new uniforms. Thanks to the Salem City School Board and Administration, that is no longer an issue. “The band is extremely grateful for the new uniforms. The set that we replaced was 12-years-old,” Salem High Band Director John Wright said.

Now in his second year, John’s responsibilities include teaching five classes a day and making sure the members are ready to perform when the lights are on. “There are 240 students involved in the Band program at the high school and 200 more at the middle school,” he said. “The marching band plays for all the football games, local parades and concerts.”

Guard member Delena Barbour.

The draw of regularly playing in front of large audiences was enough to peak Trent Overstreet’s interest. “My mom was a band member when she was in high school and would always tell me stories,” the 17-year-old said. “I have played Tenor Sax since the 10th grade. Before that I played Alto Sax and clarinet.”

Big things are expected from the Salem Spartans Marching Band this year. Recently, they got a chance to prove themselves against other area bands. “Last Saturday the Pride of Salem competed in the William Byrd High School Preview of Champions,” John Wright said. “The band had great success and performed well above expectations.”

Band members have battled through adversity over the years and have put those lessons to good use. Hard work usually beats talent when talent fails to work hard which is something that John Wright is acutely aware of. “As long as we work together as a team, there isn’t anything that we can’t accomplish,” he said.

Berkeley Wall, Adam Morton (sitting) and Trent Overstreet.