The Union County band, under new leadership from Director Derek Taylor, will be pleasing its audiences with some familiar tunes this fall.

The band’s 2019 halftime show, “Sounds of Classic Rock,” will include hits such hits as “Smoke on the Water,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

Taylor, who has served as assistant band director for the Union County School District for the past 10 years, was promoted to head band director in May. A graduate of Clarkdale Attendance Center in Lauderdale County, he attended East Community College for one year and Mississippi State University for three years in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. He went on to graduate school, where he received a master’s degree in instrumental music education from the University of Mississippi. Taylor has experience teaching flute, clarinet, saxophone (alto, tenor, and baritone), French horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, and all percussion, including mallet instruments and battery.

He is assisted by BJ Mooney.

“Although my position is very much new, some things have remained the same,” Taylor said. “It has been a relatively smooth transition, compared to most other directors moving into a new school. For a band director, it is often very difficult to move into head directorship in one's first year in the school. As I've worked in Union County for 10 years already, that has made many aspects of the transition much smoother.”

The band is comprised of 37 students from around the school district this year. They include six clarinets, four saxophones, one mellophone, six trumpets, two baritones, three trombones, two tubas, five battery percussion, three mallet percussion, one accessory percussionist, two color guard, and two band aids. 

Haley Grubbs, a senior, serves as the band’s drum major this year.

The band will perform at all East Union Attendance Center football games this season and Taylor said he hopes the band will perform in at least one marching band competition this year.

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