MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 3, 2013

Royal Regiment marches to honors

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— After marching their way to state runner-up status, Fort Gibson High School’s Royal Regiment Band prepares for more success indoors.

The band was the 4A Champion runner-up at the recent Oklahoma Bandmasters Association State Championships.

The band was a finalist and placed seventh overall in classes 4A and 5A, said Fort Gibson Band Director LaNell Spyres.

“The kids were really hard workers, and it was the biggest group of seniors and the biggest band I’ve had,” Spyres said.

Spyres has been band director for 12 years, taking the post after Gordon Macklin retired.

“He had a real successful program,” she said, adding that he had as many as 89 in his band.

She said this year’s Royal Regiment has 88 members, including 21 seniors.

“I’ve been rebuilding every year,” she said.

Spyres said Fort Gibson placed second to the Piedmont High School band, which went to 5A this year.

She said the Piedmont band was eligible to compete in 4A this year.

Spyres said she has high expectations as the band goes into “indoor season.”

Spring semester contests include judging on concert band, indoor drum line, winter guard and jazz band, she said.

To earn a state sweepstakes award, the band must receive superior, or 1, ratings in district competition, marching, stage concert and music sight-reading, she said.

This year’s band members kept busy in other events, Spyres said.

“We had five varsity cheerleaders, two football players, two basketball players, a lot of swimmers, a lot of kids in theater,” she said. “You name it, they are in it.”

With nearly one-fourth of the band set to graduate in May, Spyres said she plans to “set standards a little higher next year.”

High school band auditions will be before the end of the school year, she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogee

phoenix.com.