MARCHING ROCKETS TRADE IN UNIFORMS FOR TUXES AND DRESSES
Submitted by A. B. Sharpe
Last week was a busy one for the Marching Rockets as they prepared for Class AAAA Regional
Quarterfinals. Spirits were high on Saturday morning as the Rockets began their day on the practice field at
RCHS—getting in a final rehearsal before traveling to Morehead for the big event. Upon arriving at
Rowan County High School, it became apparent that adverse conditions would play havoc with the
remainder of the day’s schedule. Rowan County High School’s Viking Stadium could not be used due to
the previous night’s football game which included a downpour of biblical proportions. The Rowan County
organizers scrambled to make alternate arrangements which included quickly turning a soccer field into a
competitive marching field, complete with hash marks, yard lines and markers. There was a raised platform
and a cherry picker for the judges’ box.
There was much grumbling among the spectators who paid a high price for insufficient and
inadequate seating. And although dry and sunny, it was breezy and cold at 4:00 pm and downright frigid
with a frosty wind after dark when the Marching Rockets performed at 8:45 pm. The Rockets fielded the
smallest band at Regional competition on Saturday. The recent change to Class AAAA pitted the Rockets
against bands twice or more their size in playing members. In the marching arena, added numbers of
playing members translates not only into big sound and lots of show variety—spanning the football field
from one end to the other—but also to additional community and parental support, not to mention the
much-needed financial support, which is necessary to field a successful marching band.
Despite the size disadvantage, the upset in schedule and the wintery conditions, the Marching
Rockets, performed admirably. While decidedly unhappy about not making the finals, the Rockets are
proud of their accomplishments this season and they handled the defeat with the optimism that they have
displayed all season long. The Marching Rockets are determined to move forward with the same effort and
enthusiasm as they move into the next phase—competitive concert band season—which is already upon us.
Unlike other sports activities, marching band is just one aspect of competition for the band. Even as
the marching season is coming to an end, the concert season is just beginning. The students trade in their
bulky marching uniforms for tuxedos and dresses as concert season comes into full swing. The concert
season includes individual and whole band competition as well as community performances and events.
This fall, individual students will compete for positions in the Bluegrass All-Regional Bands, the All-state
Band, and the coveted Governor’s School for the Arts Program. And, for the first time, the band has been
invited to play with the Central Kentucky Concert Band in Lexington on December 14th. The band will also
simultaneously be preparing for their annual Christmas concert and for the Kentucky Music Educator’s
Concert Band festival coming in early spring.
DON’T MISS THESE UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES
October 30th—Halloween on Main. The RCHS Marching Rockets will perform some scary tunes at this
annual event—look for some creepy costumes on the Main Street stage.
October, 31st—Senior Night. The Marching Rockets will honor senior band members Samantha Bullen
(guard/flute), Morgan Harper (baritone), Reanna Hasty (trumpet) Meghan Nation (French horn), and Tony
Potter (percussion) this Friday night at the last home football game. This will be the final opportunity for
you to see the Marching Rockets perform their 2008 show, Nightscapes. Senior recognition begins at
December 14th—Special performance in Lexington. The RCHS concert band has been invited to perform
along with the Central Kentucky Concert Band as they present their "Back to Bayreuth" concert in
Lexington, on Sunday, December, 14th at Transylvania University, beginning at 7:30pm. The concert is free
and open to the public. Don’t miss this fabulous performance and an opportunity to support the band as
they represent our community in this event. More information on this concert and others given by the
Central Kentucky Concert Band can be found at www.ckcb.org.
December 15th—Annual Christmas Concert. The RCHS Concert Band will present their annual
Christmas concert as part of the RCHS Music Department’s Holiday Show. Refreshments will be served in
the foyer of the auditorium beginning at 6:30 pm. Doors open for the concert at 7:00 pm.
December 19th –First Annual “CHRISTMAS AROUND TOWN” HOLIDAY TOUR. The band will
present a holiday home tour featuring select homes from the Mt. Vernon/Brodhead area. Patrons will be
treated to holiday treats, crafts, and caroling. The tour will culminate with a holiday concert at the
Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in Renfro Valley. Tickets will go on sale at the Kentucky Music Hall of
Fame beginning in November. For more information, contact Robert Lawson at the Music Hall of Fame or
Janice Miller at 606-256-4816.
October/November—Fruit Sale. The band will be conducting their annual fruit sale during
October/November. Contact your favorite band student to place your order or call Sherry Harper at 758-
9963 for more information.
First Monday of Every Month—RCHS Band Day at Pizza Hut. Don’t forget to get pizza on the first
Monday of every month. Mention the band when ordering and they will receive 20% of the proceeds from
RCHS BAND STUDENTS ―FALL INTO THE ARTS‖
Last Thursday evening the Marching Rockets performed at RCHS as part of the Fall into the Arts
celebration at Rockcastle County High School. The pit percussion section played an arrangement of
Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata as the crowd enjoyed perusing various arts and engineering exhibits. After
drama students presented a hilarious and enchanting original play by Arts Director, Allen Pensol, “Size
Doesn’t Matter,” the full band completed the evening with an indoor rendition of their entire show,
Nightscapes, performed on stage in the auditorium. The sound was very impressive and the audience
reacted with shouts of “encore,” “encore,” which prompted the band to let loose with “Washington and
Lee”, the official school fight song, followed by an energetic playing of “Six”, both popular stand tunes.
High School Band Directors are a lot like football coaches. They are responsible for the outcome of
the season. After designing the program, they run all the long rehearsals, continuously strategizing to
improve competitive performance, constantly molding the group into a team. We are fortunate to have here
in Rockcastle, Band Director Greg Daugherty, and his Assistant Band Director, Cassandra Smith. They are
first and foremost music educators and they are dedicated to patiently inspiring our students to release the
music in their souls. As this season was drawing to a close, I was able to interview them as they graciously
took a few minutes from their hectic schedules.
Mr. Greg Daugherty:
How long have you been Band Director of the Marching Rockets? 13 years
Were you in a high school band? Yes. Here at Rockcastle. What instrument(s) did you play? I played
baritone in the high school band.
What was the best part of being in the RCHS Band? The performance opportunities, special events like
honors band and Bluegrass All-Regional Band, and being with my band buddies.
Is band different now from when you were in school? Yes, in some aspects. One way in particular is that
we now have competitive marching band.
What college did you attend? Eastern Kentucky University
Were you in a college band? Yes Marching, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Tuba and Euphonium
Ensemble What instrument(s) did you play? Euphonium and Tuba
How was that experience? I loved it, it was like high school band in that I had many opportunities to make
music and hang out with incredible folks, it differed from my high school experience in that I was afforded
the opportunity to play more advanced and more varied types of musical literature.
How did you become a music teacher? Because of the great musical experiences that I had under Bob
Pybas, Marge Wilcop, and Johnna Ward (my high school music teachers), I decided I would pursue music
education, choral and instrumental, during my junior year of high school. I then auditioned for the staff at
Eastern Kentucky University and was awarded a vocal and instrumental scholarship to pursue my degree in
What is the best part of directing a high school/middle school band for you? The best part would have to
be seeing the culmination of all of our hard work realized in a performance event. It is wonderful to see
students achieve a high level of musicianship and gain the ability to express themselves through music.
What style of music do you most like to listen to? I listen to nearly every type of music there is. I enjoy
everything from classical to country, pop, alternative, R & B, bluegrass, jazz, big band, and easy listening. I
just enjoy music; my iPod has something under nearly every genre.
What style of music do you most like to to play? I love orchestral transcriptions (Alfred Reed) for concert
band (when I am playing tuba or euphonium).
What do you do to unwind from the intensity of competition season? I am currently playing tuba and
euphonium with the Central Kentucky Concert Band, under the direction of Dr. Peter Larue, Director of
Bands at Georgetown University. I really enjoy both the rehearsals and the performance and it is most
beneficial to what I do each day as a band director. Not only to I get the opportunity to keep in touch of
what it is like to be a performer but, I also get the chance to maintain my skill level as a musician, play
some great concert band literature, and I get to enjoy just coming in, sitting down, and playing without
having to worry about any of the logistics of running and working a rehearsal.
Any comments about this season that has just ended? I felt that the students worked very hard this
season, putting in a great many long hot hours of practice and, beyond the successes of the season, have
grown tremendously in both their musicianship and level of discipline. I feel that the band members have
also grown closer to one another and are more of a team as a result of the efforts put forth during this year's
marching season as well.
Ms. Cassandra Smith:
How long have you been a band director of the Marching Rockets? I worked as a tech for a couple of
years but I have been Assistant band director for two years.
Were you in a high school band? I played xylophone in Rockcastle's high school band a life time ago.
What was the best part of being in the RCHS Band? I made my closest friends in the band. I've been out
of school for almost eight years now and the only friends I'm still close to are my old band buddies. I liked
to play, but playing with friends made the experience really fun.
Is band different now from when you were in school? Band is a world away from where it was when I
was there. Mr. Daugherty has really pushed the program over the years. When I was in high school we
only competed a couple of times until my senior year (our first full year on the circuit) and now the band
goes out EVERY weekend to compete. The program has grown in other good ways as well. I mean, way
back then I WAS the pit, the lone xylo player, and now there are a slew of instruments and kids to play
them. Kudos to Mr. D. for improving the overall program over the years.
What college did you attend? I was an EKU Colonel.
Were you in a college band? I was in several ensembles during college. I was a member of the Symphonic
band, concert band, African drum and dance ensemble, percussion ensemble, steel band, and of course I
was a marching Colonel in the EKU marching band. What instrument(s) did you play? As a percussionist I
played all percussion instruments, and in marching band I played cowbell. They even made my name on
the drum line shirt one year "more cowbell"
How did you become a music teacher? I told Norma Eversole in first grade that I was going to be a teacher
and write a book. Well, almost twenty years later I am a music teacher but I don't write books with words,
I write books with notes. It has always been in me to want to teach and music has always been a part of my
life. It just made sense to me. I wanted to come home to teach to repay the favor for my teachers doing
such a good job with me.
What is the best part of directing a high school/middle school band for you? Being a part of the kids
learning and watching them grow and improve over the course of a season is my favorite part of working
with the band. But, also watching them grow and mature as players and people over the course of their
entire school career is a great reward for the time spent on the practice field.
What style of music do you most like to listen to? I like to listen to anything really. My pre-sets in the
car are all over the place: country, rock, classical, pop, etc. And yes, I still rock out my mixed tapes of Ace
of Bass and Madonna.
What style of music do you most like to to play? I love to play Steel Pan music. I'm currently playing with
EKU's steel ensemble as part of my Masters degree in music and I LOVE it!
What do you do to unwind from the intensity of competition season? That's a funny question because
Greg and I usually start talking about ideas for the next season before we've even hit Christmas
break. When I can though, after the season is over I spend my free time catching up with friends and
family. I also love to play with community bands or EKU ensembles when I can.
Any comments about this season that has just ended? This season was a season of growth. We laid a
good foundation for ALL of our new-comers while pushing the boundaries for our seasoned veterans.
Winning is fun, but my goal for the group was growth and improvement, from the first sectional back in the
summer to the last step off the field this fall. I feel like we achieved that goal. The kids were great this year
and should be proud of their accomplishments.