Houston Forward Times

21 August 2013 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney



Being a Jack Yates High School alumnus is more than just a title, it is a way of life.

For those who have attended Jack Yates or heard about its storied history, one of the major aspects of it was the Jack Yates Marching Motion Band. Whether during halftime performances at the football game or participating at a major parade, the Jack Yates Marching Motion Band has entertained countless people for decades.

Now, with the flurry of public education cutbacks, many historically rich programs like the JY Marching Motion Band are in danger of being severely shortchanged or eliminated.

However, a group of Jack Yates alumni have stepped up and planned an event to address the issue and meet the needs of the band.

Two Jack Yates alumni, Gerry Monroe and Zandra Wilson, have joined forces with the Jack Yates Marching Motion Band Booster Club to put on the 1st Annual Jack Yates Marching Motion Band Crimson and Gold Block Party.

Band 1 - CopyThe event will be held this Saturday, August 24th, from noon until 6 pm, on the back parking lot of Jack Yates High School located at 3700 Sampson.

The fee of the event is only $5.00 and the proceeds will benefit the Jack Yates Marching Motion Band Booster Club. 

Since Yates is now a 3A school, they want parents and the community to know that any middle school-aged musician is eligible to march with the Jack Yates Marching Motion Band. They also want to bring more awareness about the band, since neither Cullen Middle nor Ryan Middle School (both feeder music programs for Yates), has a band program anymore. 

Monroe and Wilson hope that this event will bridge the gap with the community and the school, in order to help educate the community, increase enrollment and encourage more parent involvement. 
As a booster club, they hope to eventually raise $100,000 annually for the school and band program.

Both Monroe and Wilson are 1986 graduates of Jack Yates and have been dedicated to the school since they were students. Monroe was on the 1985 state championship football team and Wilson was a majorette.

They both believe that Jack Yates gave them the foundation to be who they are today and they want everybody to come out and support the cause.

“We are doing this because the band has a new director, Sam Long, and he told us that he needed help raising funds for transportation, new uniforms and band scholarships, because they’ve been cut out of the budget,” said Monroe. “I believe in this school and that band has been the pride of 3rd Ward since it opened, so I won’t sit back and do nothing.”

Monroe and Wilson state that they decided to do this event to show that no matter what problems the school faces, they will never overshadow the fact that Jack Yates is still the pride of 3rd Ward. 
“This is just the beginning,” said Wilson. “We are on a mission to raise money for a band that has been placed on the back burner due to low enrollment and underfunding. We are resurrecting the spirit of the days of old when the community was crazy about this band. We are promoting the fact that although we are small in numbers right now, we are still here and are strong on sound. We are growing by the day and want to remind everyone about the strong pride we still have by exposing the entire city to the positive things that Jack Yates has to offer.”

They also want to make the transition of the new principal, who has been hired, that much easier.

So whether you are a former Drum Major, Musician, Majorette, Flagette, concerned alumnus or community citizen, you are encouraged to come out and support.

The band is in need of all donations, both monetary and non-monetary. School funding for the band program is not enough to cover all the expenses. The band has seen a decline over the years due to low enrollment and the lack of participation.

Again, donations will go toward raising funds for transportation, new uniforms, band scholarships and other needs such as instrument repairs, the purchasing of instruments, brass and woodwind horn mouthpieces, reeds, drum mallets, sticks and recruitment activities. 

There will be over 25 vendors on site. Local entertainer Dana Jackson will be performing live and there will be a live performance by the Jack Yates Marching Motion Band. 

All alumni, especially former band members and auxiliary, are being encouraged to come out and support this event to help push the band forward with moral and financial support.

MAA WereReady