Band Grows Exponentially Under Smith Direction

Rachel Guidry, News Editor

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Since Mr. and Mrs. Smith have moved to Center, less than 20 years ago, the Roughrider Band has grown dramatically.

“When I started working here, there was only about 350 kids, 6th through 12th, and so it’s a little bit different then it is now.” Band Director Christina Smith said.

Before the Smith’s arrived at Center, the curtain of abandonment was slowly closing on the band program.

“Some of the first conversations I had with kids were, ‘Hey I’m gonna have you come have a lesson next week’ and they would go ‘You’re gonna be here next week?’ They just needed somebody to care about them and love them,” Christina Smith said.

The Smith’s gave the band kids at Center a second family; something that pushed the kids to be the best they could possibly be.

“When we first got here, they hadn’t had the same director two years in a row, and there wasn’t a lot of leadership there. We just always believed that you take care of each other, and we just took that into the band hall, and the kids bought right in with no problem,” Christina Smith said.

The Center Band soon became the Pride of Shelby County, an organization with about 250 high school members. They are one of the largest, best bands in class 4A, but manage to stay humbled.

“Make sure that [the band members] understand that it’s hard work, discipline, and dedication,” Christina Smith said. “Also, to know the idea of excellence and making sure that they understand, all the time, that if you don’t continue, well then it’s not guaranteed to you.”

Having a large band isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to traveling. The band takes seven buses to travel, and squeezes one-third of the student body into small visitor’s stands.

“At the Jefferson game, the Jefferson superintendent actually stopped me and said ‘Are you guys gonna fit in our bleachers?’ stuff like that,” Head Director Chris Smith said “Travel, like making sure you’ve got enough buses to get from point A to point B, those would be the biggest logistics, as far as having a big band.”

Having such a big, talented band gives the band directors a lot to be proud of when traveling to smaller schools.

“It’s a lot of fun, I’m not going to lie. We get off the bus on Friday nights, and the superintendent from Jefferson or someone is kind of awestruck. They don’t know what to expect so it’s a lot of fun,” Chris Smith said.

Over the years, the Smiths’ have watched the band grow into one of the most successful organizations in Center. Needless to say, they are a little humbled by the experience.

“It doesn’t seem real that I get to be a part of something so neat.” Christina Smith said. “I’m thankful everyday that I got sent to Center, Texas, and I’m thankful everyday for the opportunity to stand in front of them. We work hard everyday to make sure that we continue to deserve that opportunity, because I think that as much as it is our responsibility to take care of the band, it’s also an honor.”