LOOKING BACK: Formative years of the Crestview High School band

Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM.

Thompson taught each student individually. The newly formed Okaloosa School Band soon was able to play simple songs and marches. The band debuted on June 4, 1938, with a parade down Main Street followed by a concert on the courthouse lawn.

Thompson was dismayed when shown the local football field, locally known as “Sandspur Field.” The name was well-given as it was a sand bed full of “stickers,” totally unsuitable for a marching band. Games were played in the afternoon as there were no lights and no real seating.

After getting a very skeptical principal and football coach to agree to give the band half of the gate if the band could get a real lighted field and stands built, Romulus formed the first band booster organization in Okaloosa County.

Several citizens, including Claude Garrett, put up the money for field lighting. Bill Duggan donated lumber from his sawmill for the stands. A farmer donated grass to sod the field. The Baker School FFA and several band parents laid the sod and built the stands.

Thus, in the fall of 1938, the first night football game in Okaloosa County was played in a newly lighted Sandspur Field. There were 600 spectators who paid $1 each to see the game and watch the first halftime show by a band in Okaloosa County. True to their word, the principal and coach handed over half of the gate receipts to the band. According to Thompson, “we never had any trouble with money after that.”

Ambition and competition

Thompson entered the band in its first district band festival in the spring of 1939 in DeFuniak Springs. The band played in class "C” — a class higher than they should have been in — and won the highest rating possible.

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