An Open Letter to Incoming Freshman…


“Can I do band in High School?” Many incoming freshman that participated in middle school band ask themselves this question every year, and unfortunately many of those that decide “no” is the best answer are surprisingly ill informed. When you ask the students at the High School if band is important, they will tell you many different things. Perhaps they might mention that top three academic students in the senior class are also some of the most talented musicians in the band. Or maybe that an All-National level clarinetist is also a key player on the soccer team. However, one thing that all of the students share in common is that band has positively impacted their lives, even if it was a little bit stressful at times.

When you walk through the doors of North Buncombe High School as a freshman on the first day, all of the fast paced movements of high school can be rather intimidating. You’ll see friends reconnecting after three months of limited contact, the football players exchanging high fives, or maybe wash your eyes out after seeing a “love-struck” couple… interact… with one other for the first time in a while. You will notice that most people have a well-defined peer group, and most freshman don’t know what to do. On that same day, more than likely, you will see the “band-geeks” milling around outside the band room socializing and carrying on. They have all been here for the past two weeks rehearsing for the fall Marching Band season. They already have a well solidified group of friends, leaders, and teachers and are ready to take on high school. When you decide to do band you get much more than knowledge of music and how to play an instrument, you have a well-defined, educated, and healthy group of peers to grow together with during High School.

Freshmen band asheville buncombe county

Some students at the Middle School occasionally spread false rumors that it is impossible to be successful in anything else when you participate in band, and this is simply not true. Although band does require a substantial amount of time and effort, a majority of the students in the program flourish in many other aspects of their life. Everyone at the school knows that some of the most successful academic scholars are part of the band program. In fact, among the top fifteen scholars in the senior class, seven of them are in band. In addition, there are many students in band who participate in spring and fall sports. There are multiple students that run track and cross-country, several students in fall and spring soccer (including HFC), and it is even possible to play varsity football and do band. Band director Andrew Shelton works very closely and tirelessly with the coaches at the school to make sure that there are few if any scheduling conflicts and ensure that students can have fun in both athletics and band.

“Can I do band in High School?” Absolutely, and chances are you will be better for it. Whether it’s making new friends, developing social skills, becoming immersed in  a rich musical culture, or developing leadership skills, band has a major impact on the students at North Buncombe. Even if you decide band isn’t the right choice for you, I implore you. Choose your friends wisely, find a healthy group of peers at North Buncombe, and stick with them. There is no shortage of fun and interesting programs to participate in at this school. You may not realize it yet, but these are the most important and influential years of your life, do something with them.