Allison Thomas, a 2020 graduate of Kosciusko High School, always liked band and wanted to join.
“Some parents made their kids join the band, but I always wanted to,” she said.
Thomas started her band career in sixth grade and worked her way up from there.
She started playing clarinet in the junior high band in sixth grade. Having begun piano lessons at age 8, Thomas was able to join the Kosciusko Pulse Indoor Percussion as a keyboardist. In eighth grade, she was promoted early to the Big Red Band, where she was a member of the front ensemble. In ninth grade, she joined the clarinet section and joined the Kosciusko Kozmic Winds. During her junior year, she served as the clarinet section leader and assistant drum major under Ben Brunt. She also served as color guard manager for the Kosciusko La Rouge Winter Guard. Thomas was also principal clarinetist for the Kosciusko Symphonic Band during her junior and senior year.
In 2019-20, she served as head drum major for Big Red with Ethan Lindsay as her assistant.
“Band allowed me to find what I wanted to do in life. I am now at Delta State University, playing clarinet in the ‘Marching Statesmen’ band. I am majoring in Music Education with the eventual goal of becoming a band director,” Thomas said.
“Band was my life during high school. I liked to be in the band hall, helping others when I could. I still have that mindset of helping others, and that is a lot of what made me want to be a band director,” she said.
Thomas gives credit to mentors Mr. Grove, Mr. Culpepper, Ms. Sanders, and Mr. Yates, in particular, for having an impact on her.
“They were the main ones who influenced me in my high school years and made me want to become a band director,” she told The Star-Herald.
She is pleased to know that the junior high school auditorium is being upgraded to create the Skipworth Performing Arts Center.
“The auditorium was closed most of my high school years, and I am glad it’s being fixed up. Band students need to be able to practice in a concert hall rather than just the band hall or gym,” said the former head drum major. “Right before spring break of my senior year, Ms. Sanders took us to practice in the auditorium, then COVID blew up and everything shut down. Therefore, I’ve only played in there once, but I know what a great venue it will be.”
Thomas is also excited about the possibilities of bringing different groups into the community.
“I’m so thankful that the community is getting that space back, and I know it will be great. I’m also pleased to know the Mr. Skipworth is being honored in that way. Big Red is one of the oldest band programs in the state, and the history of the band and its excellence owes a lot to him,” she said.
Thomas is still proud to have been a Big Red member.
“Our directors always told us that we are not only representing ourselves, but also the school and Kosciusko,” she said. “It is something important to me, and I am extremely thankful for the memories and moments I enjoyed with Big Red.”