Volunteer High School Band Director Josh Light sets up trophies the band won in 2011 in this file photo.
UPDATE: Thursday, 1:20 p.m.
The Volunteer High School marching band trophy giveaway that was supposed to take place on Saturday, August 10 has been put on hold.
Hawkins County school officials and Board of Education members decided they wanted to explore all options on the table with what to do with the over 200 plus awards.
Volunteer Band Director Joshua Light said, “After the story ran, I was contacted by school officials who didn’t know there was an issue with space and housing the awards. They want to make sure that all efforts are exhausted in keeping the awards.” Light noted that he wants to keep the awards as well, but there is an issue of space.
He added, “There are a lot of them and we have just ran out of display room. The band has been very successful over its 30 year history and therefore has collected a lot of awards. We want to be able to preserve our heritage and honor the accomplishments of all members of the band.”
CHURCH HILL — With his marching band program bringing in new trophies literally by the truckload every year, Volunteer High School Band Director Josh Light is hoping Saturday to preserve the past while making room for the future.
On Saturday between noon and 3 p.m., former VHS marching band members who helped earn more than 200 trophies between 1980 and 2001 are invited to come to the band room and take home the trophies from their era on a first-come, first-served basis.
That will leave more than 200 trophies the band has won since Light took over as director in 2002.
This summer the VHS band room underwent a renovation, and as a result the 33 years worth of band trophies that line the walls had to be moved while work was completed.
When it came time to move the more than 400 trophies back into the band room Light came to the realization that there just isn’t enough room for them all.
“While we were putting everything back we decided we wanted to leave room for growth,” Light said. “We decided that everything prior to 2002 we would give back to alumni, if they want it. Saturday afternoon we’ll have all the trophies set up by year, and if they marched during that time period they can come by and pick up one of those trophies as a keepsake.”
Light added, “That way the people who earned them have an opportunity to get them, and that way the history of the band is preserved through them. If we could keep them all we would, but the trophy case in the school is full and we don’t have room for them in the band room any more.”
The accomplishments of pre-2002 band members won’t be completely removed from the school. Annual composite pictures will remain dating back to the first year in 1980.
The giveaway will be conducted on the honor system, and former band members don’t have to bring proof of their band membership. In fact, if there are still a lot of trophies left over as 3 p.m. approaches, Light said no one will object if former members start taking them out by the armload.
Light said he doesn’t want alumni members to think the decision to pick 2002 as the cutoff year for keeping trophies was intended to diminish past accomplishments.
He said 2002 seemed like a logical time period to begin what might be considered the modern era for the VHS band.
“That’s when I got here, and that’s when the tradition that started when I got here began,” Light said. “With all the trophies that were here when I arrived, we’ve won at least that many again since I got here. And, we need room to display the work of students who are here now.”
The only pre-2002 trophy Light is keeping is from a 1987 trip to Philadelphia.
“They went to the Liberty Bell Festival, and they got a little Liberty Bell trophy,” Light said. “The bell actually rings, and I think that’s the neatest trophy we have.”