Knox alum directs award-winning band

Recent Knox grad is taking the ROWVA High School band to new heights during his first year on the job.

Excerpt from the Register Mail story:

The 45-member group, now under the direction of Justin Haynes, took extra steps early this fall to ensure better performances and more dedication from its members.

The band talked about goals at the beginning of the season. They didn’t want another fiasco like the “Amazing Collapse of 2006,” they said, where the entire band “fell apart” at a competition in Washington. The goals include: to have fun, win at least one award at competition, memorize music by the first football game, have two-thirds of the field show learned by the first football game, show continued improvement and show discipline and hard work at all times.

Haynes said the group met all of its goals while performing a Monkees-themed field show this year.

The students attribute a lot of their success to their new director, the seventh band instructor at ROWVA in 15 years.

“Last year, there was no pride in what we did,” said Doug Rylander, a senior trumpet player. “At the end of last year I wasn’t excited about band.”

Band members knew right away that Haynes was going to push them much harder this year. The band practiced six hours a day for the two weeks of band camp, then twice a week for three hours for the two weeks before school started. After school began the band practiced from 7 to 8:15 a.m. and again during its 90-minute class period.

“It’s a huge time commitment,” Haynes said. “They work really hard, but every day we had a blast.”