CRESTVIEW — Former Crestview High School band members are sought to join the new Big Red Machine Alumni and Friends Association.
The non-profit group, organized by former Crestview High band members Graham Fountain, Al Aplin, Theresa Fleming Riley and Lane Holland, will hold its first public performance Oct. 18.
Fountain said Choctaw and Fort Walton Beach high schools have similar band alumni programs that are successful in raising funds for their respective bands.
Organizers took the plans for an alumni support group to current band director Jody Dunn, who embraced the idea.
"We're hoping to have as many alumni and directors and staff members, and anybody else who can claim they've been a part of the Big Red Machine as possible," Dunn said.
Crestview Mayor David Cadle, former band director, and late director Louis Lindsay will be honored for their service to the band and community during the event, Fountain said.
The association has also invited the daughter and grandson of Romulus H. Thompson, the band's 1938 founder, Fountain said.
"Although we have no idea yet how many alums will be in attendance, over 800 invitations have been sent out to former band members," Fountain said.
Fountain, a class of 1979 member who was a band captain and played first chair tuba, said alumni band organizers look forward to helping celebrate the Big Red Machine's 75th anniversary.
"This recognition has special significance because the first band in Crestview was also the first public school band program in the newly formed Okaloosa County," Fountain said.
The Big Red Machine Alumni and Friends Association "will strive to raise funds from private resources through the means of alumni band members and other citizens who wish to see the benefits the band program provides our young people continue," the group stated in a press release.
WHAT TO JOIN?
Crestview High School band or band staff alumni are invited to join the new Big Red Machine Alumni & Friends Association. Contact Al Aplin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 305-7122 or Graham Fountain, email@example.com, 830-0002.
Alumni Band schedule:
Oct. 17: 6:30-8 p.m., practice, Crestview High band room
Oct. 18: 4-5 p.m., practice, Crestview High band room
Oct. 18: 5-6:15 p.m., Alumni Band invitation-only reception; 6:30-10 p.m., Alumni band and Big Red Machine halftime performance
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.