The Islands and Herschel V. Jenkins High School Marching Bands (among others) will be performing during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Thurs, March 17 as it weaves its way through the squares of downtown Savannah.
Melvin Lewis became band director for Jenkins High School in October 2019. Lewis, along with much of the band, have never performed in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but are excited for the opportunity.
“It feels pretty good! My senior band students performed in the parade three years ago, but my 9th, 10th and 11th graders have never performed in this parade,” said Lewis. “I think there is some nervousness because the parade is very long, but there is a lot of excitement because they actually get a chance to perform.”
Since 2010 Emily Graham has served as Islands High School’s band director. In 2013 Islands formed their marching band and have been in the parade ever since.
“It’s a neat energy to play at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s the largest crowd of the year. We love playing in parades, but St. Patrick’s Day everyone is there for the festivities and they really get into the music. It’s fun to see people dancing along while we play,” said Graham.
With this being the first parade in two years, Graham said that her students are pumped to be performing.
“It’s been really tough not getting to play together. So I’m so thrilled that this year, we’ve been able to play all through football season and in The Veterans Day Parade. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve gotten to do St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s a big deal,” said Graham.
For the students of Islands marching band, being able to perform in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is not only a chance to show crowds the fruits of their hard work, but also a way to come together as a community.
“I wanted a sense of community coming into high school, and I felt that marching band was the best way for me to be around people who love doing what I love,” said Kamyrn Clark, a senior clarinet player and drum major for Islands High School Marching Band.
Clark has been playing the clarinet for seven years, and performed in one St. Patrick’s Parade prior to its cancellation the past two years. This will be Clark’s last big performance with the band before she graduates high school.
“I’m excited to end my high school band career in such a great way,” Clark exclaimed.
Avie Ignacio is a sophomore at Islands and part of the band’s color guard. Ignacio joined the band back in May 2021 and started learning flag work that July. She said that she’s proud of her progress, pointing out that being in the color guard takes patience, skill and determination.
“I’ve always known St. Patricks Day is a big day for Savannah, and for me to be a part of it is an amazing opportunity. It’s my favorite thing being in a place full of celebration,” said Ignacio.