ROCKINGHAM — When Heather Pike graduates this yr from Richmond Senior, she accomplishes one thing that may very well be a one-of-a-kind second within the faculty’s 50-year historical past.
Pike has performed the clarinet because the sixth grade and spent the previous 4 years marching in Raider Stadium, serving to cheer the soccer crew to victory in the course of the many Friday Night time Lights.
What makes this story so distinctive has actually nothing to do with Pike however moderately the practically 40-year-old clarinet Pike has used for all these years.
When requested about why she selected the clarinet again as a sixth grader at Hamlet Center Faculty, Pike stated, “It was handy.”
This might seemingly be an odd reply for somebody so younger, however for Pike, she grew up in a musical household. Her mother, Joannie, and pa, Jefferson, each performed within the marching band at North Carolina State College.
Her dad performed the drums, and her mother performed the very same clarinet Heather has performed all these years.
The identical clarinet that Heather picked up seven years in the past was performed at Raider Stadium earlier than her mother, Joannie, graduated from Richmond Senior in 1989. That handy alternative for Heather was packed away on the home, prepared for a second technology of clarinet gamers within the Pike household.
“We may have rented one, however the gentleman taking a look at my clarinet stated that is higher than what you possibly can hire,” Joannie stated. “We simply wanted some new pads, and it was good as new. I suppose they don’t make them like they used to.”
The clarinet was twice the age of Heather, however many individuals say some issues age higher with time, and the clarinet handed on from mom to daughter was introduced again to life for a second probability to play the Raider battle track – louder and stronger.
Heather admitted it wasn’t her mother or dad that impressed her to hitch the band however moderately her older brother Johnny, a 2018 East Lincoln Excessive Faculty graduate in Denver, N.C., who performed the French horn.
“I form of needed to take after my older brother as a result of he was within the marching band,” Heather stated. “I noticed him carry out and knew I needed to comply with him in his footsteps and play on the identical subject.”
Heather stated being in highschool could be tough at occasions, however the friendships she fashioned within the band room helped her discover her voice and a spot the place she belonged.
“It’s given me a protected house,” he stated. “For me, it’s a protected group of individuals the place I can simply categorical myself and be myself. Highschool may be very annoying and overwhelming, however when I’m within the band room, I’m relaxed and calm if I’m having a foul day.”
Edwin Carter, the Director of Band at Richmond Senior Excessive Faculty, has one rule for the band room: scholar musicians should depart their variations on the band room door.
“All of us look totally different, sound totally different, and consider various things,” he stated. “After we carry out collectively, none of that issues as a result of everybody solely sees the band.”
Carter’s means to unite individuals from all life into one room has helped Pike and different college students bridge variations by way of music and forge new friendships.
“It simply provides me a way of self and belonging with individuals that may relate,” she stated about being round her fellow band members.
Heather stated band members have a lot in frequent and lots of the similar issues as younger highschool college students. The band room permits college students to have these powerful conversations.
“They may hearken to my issues, and having one thing that straightforward can actually assist me get by way of my day,” she stated.
Heather credit Carter for uplifting his scholar musicians when nobody else will.
“He has a variety of religion within the college students, even once they don’t place confidence in themselves or no person else does,” she stated. “He’s at all times there to hear and provides recommendation after we want it. You couldn’t ask for something extra from a instructor or band director. Our success as an individual is his precedence. He’s very inspiring and exhibits that he actually cares about us as younger individuals, extra than simply one other scholar coming into class.”
Heather stated being within the band is much less common than sports activities in highschool, and that may make band members invisible within the hallways.
“The band is commonly missed quite a bit right here,” she stated. “I’m overshadowed by cheerleaders or soccer. That’s okay; being in a band isn’t a few recognition contest or a recreation however about doing one thing we love, and that’s taking part in music. We don’t do it for the fanfare however for ourselves.”
Joannie stated watching her daughter develop as a musician has been particular as she sees herself in highschool utilizing music to beat comparable powerful occasions.
“I believe music provides you an edge,” she stated. “It’s an expression of emotions by way of your devices. There’s nothing prefer it. It’s actually exhausting to clarify.”
When requested about watching her daughter carry out, Joannie stated, “It feels very nostalgic to look at her play.”
Heather stated one of the best recommendation she may give a center faculty scholar studying to play an instrument for the primary time can be to don’t be fast to give up.
“In case you’re good at it, keep it up,” she stated. “In case you’re not good at it and nonetheless prefer it, keep it up. Simply don’t be afraid of adversity.”
Though her clarinet has been packed away for the bass clarinet for live performance band, this summer time, she shall be stepping onto Jerry Richardson Stadium with the Satisfaction of Niner Nation as a member of their marching band on the College of North Carolina at Charlotte whereas pursuing a level in electrical engineering.
As Heather adopted her mother and pa’s footsteps to play in a university marching band, one query remained unanswered. Will she pack her clarinet away for a 3rd technology of the Marching Raider Band?
“We should simply see,” she stated, smiling.