Strike up the band!

After a challenging year in 2020, RHS band taking ‘The Path Less Traveled’ in 2021


ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — After facing a challenging year in 2020, the Robertsdale High School Golden Bear Marching Band is taking “The Path Less Traveled” into the 2021-22 performance and competition season.

“The Path Less Traveled” is the theme for this year’s halftime and competition show, said Lee Hughes, who is entering his fifth season as band director at RHS.

“All of our songs run along the theme of pathways and finding your path, and all are about not necessarily choosing the easy path, which is pretty much what the last year has been about,” he said.

While they were able to come together last year and put on a halftime show, the RHS band, along with every other band in Baldwin County, were limited by concerns over the Coronavirus.

“We weren’t able to have a summer camp; we did perform at home games, but were not able to perform at away games, and we couldn’t participate in competitions,” Hughes said. “In spite of all that, our students were able to come together because they took the ‘path less traveled.’”

Hughes is joined once again by Assistant Band Director Bryant Ramey, while this year, RHS will have an additional band director with the recent hiring of Jeffrey Lipa, who comes to RHS after having served as a band director with Baldwin County High School. Lipa’s wife, Deanna, is also joining the RHS feeder program, serving as sixth grade band instructor at Central Baldwin Middle School.

In spite of Coronavirus concerns, Hughes said, the band has maintained about 190 members in the high school program. They wrapped up a two-week band camp on Friday, July 30 in preparation for the upcoming season.

“I think it’s going really well,” Hughes said. “All of our students are quiet and attentive. I think they’re just all ready to be out and back to as normal a routine as possible.”

This year’s program will feature David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Van Halen’s “Panama,” and a pair of selections from Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Saturday Night’s Alright.”

“Anyone will tell you we have a guy in the front office (RHS Principal Joe Sharp) that has been really great about giving us whatever we’ve needed to build our program and we’re grateful for that,” Hughes said. “We’re also grateful for the support of our community. This show is what we perform in competition and we’ve had a lot of success there. But it’s also about entertaining the community and supporting the community and I think everyone here is looking forward to getting back to doing that.”

The Golden Bear Marching Band will kick off its halftime show on the road when Robertsdale takes on rival Foley Aug. 20. Its first home performance will be Aug. 27 when the Bears take on the Elberta Warriors at J.D. Sellars Stadium. Game-time kickoff for both games will be 7 p.m.