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‘Red Elephant March’ to make debut at band concert

Director hopes the the music gains a permanent spot in spring show

POSTED: May 11, 2011 11:47 p.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Musicians junior Mady Wuest, left, and freshman Guadalupe Aguayo play Wednesday during band practice at Gainesville High School. The band will be debuting the "Red Elephant March," which was written specifically for them, at a concert tonight.

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For the last six weeks, the Gainesville High School Marching Band has been hard at work, practicing for tonight's concert, which will include something different.

This evening, the band will hopefully debut a new tradition, according to band director Larry Miller.

The centerpiece of tonight's show is a song that was written for the Gainesville High band. It's titled the "Red Elephant March" by renowned composer Cecil Karrick.

But what is equally as entertaining as the song is the story behind it.

Forty years ago, when First Presybeterian Church music director Michael Henry was in high school, he had a teacher who was "one of the hardest things I've ever run up against."

Henry said looking back on his experience with Karrick, his band teacher, that Karrick was one of the most influential people in his life.

"He was interested in not just making music, but building character in his students," Henry said.

Several years ago, Henry had a band reunion, and he went in hopes of running into the old teacher who inspired him.

While at the reunion, Henry thought about the impact Karrick had on him and found a way to give back some of the inspiration that was bestowed to him. He asked his former band teacher if he would write a song for his daughter's high school band.

Karrick gladly accepted and began right away.

Karrick didn't have a note in mind or a tune in his head. "I just started to (draw the notes)."

Once the Gainesville High students began to practice performing the song and "knew the story about it, they were all about it," Miller said "I think it's a great opportunity for our students."

Miller hopes the "Red Elephant March" gains a permanent spot in the spring concert.



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