Lanier High is without a band this year - - Jackson, MS

Lanier High is without a band this year

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Lanier High School Marching Band is usually in step, marching to a tune that makes the school at 833 Maple unique. However, there is currently not a band performing at Lanier; not at football games and not in competitions.

"It's the pride of the school, through the Martin Luther King Parade," recalled alumni Justin Roberts.

He was Mr. Lanier 2008 and moved back to Jackson after college. Roberts says it feels as though a piece of Lanier is missing.  

"I think we need more support from the alumni in the community. I mean, less talk and more action. It's very sad this school is going through this," said Roberts.

The band director position at the school has not been filled and the band programs are inactive. 

Roderick Little was a drum major at Lanier and returned to be the band director, before going to Jackson State University as the Associate Director of Bands. He says the Lanier band was started in the 1940's in a family atmosphere, when the school was the center of a neighborhood inside the capital city.  

"The same that happened with the band, built on a family tradition, that's the same thing that happened with the school. The school and the community and the environment was all tied together," recalled Little.  

It's one reason alumni at the school are passionate, but the support may not be as strong now.  There were less than 10 fans in the stands to support the Lanier football team last Friday at Germantown High School. 

The marching band provides scholarships to students who might not consider college.
Little says music is a chance for teens to belong to something, while escaping trouble at home or the streets.

"Music was an escape for that, and I'm afraid that if that particular activity is not reinstated back at Lanier a lot of students will be lost. Maybe not a massive amount but one is enough," said Little.   

He's confident the Lanier's band will perform again.

"I would like to see the band program get back to where it needs to be and I know that it will. And I know that the administration is working hard to find somebody," said Little. 
JPS released this statement on Monday afternoon about the vacancy at Lanier:

"The Jackson Public School District is currently seeking qualified applicants to fill the band director vacancy at Lanier High School. The position has been vacant since May 30, 2013. Once a qualified applicant has been chosen, the new director will be charged with leading all of the band programs at the high school (which are currently inactive)."

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