Purvis Passes Down The Reins

Marching band’s director of 30 years retires, new director steps up

Olivia Talbert

Following the retirement of 30-year veteran Neal Purvis, the band is now under the new direction of Lyle Reynoso. With Purvis being nominated as last year’s Teacher of the Year candidate for the district, his big shoes were filled by Reynoso’s 17 years of experience as the middle school band director. The middle school position was filled by new teacher and SHHS alumni David Wingerson. With a new director comes a new agenda of goals and changes.

“We have [new] hot weather uniforms to keep the kids healthier during the hot games so they don’t pass out,” Reynoso said. “We’re also implementing a pep band program that’s more consistent.”

Previously, participating in the pep band during basketball season was optional, but band members are now required to perform in at least half of the home games. Reynoso has also implemented a new rehearsal schedule because of the shortened playing time affected by the new bell schedule. Additionally, he is seeking feedback from his students about which songs to play, opinions on schedules, and staff.

“I think that’s important that they have a voice,” Reynoso said.

The Marching Thunderbirds previously competed at K-State and Washburn, scoring high honors against other schools in the surrounding area.

With all the changes comes obstacles, and with an established band program adjustments of a new agenda and schedule can be difficult.

“With a new director everything is a little crazy, but I feel like in a few years everything will be good,” Senior and first trumpet Nathaniel Baker said. But according to many band students, the change from Purvis to Reynoso has brought a refreshed atmosphere to the class.

“Everyone is a lot more encouraged and happy throughout,” Senior, drum major, Nathan Kuenzi.

As for the band, the future’s looking bright. They will continue performing until the conclusion of the football season which will lead into pep band at basketball games. Concert band will have their first concert on Dec. 18.