High expectation for West band


West Marion Band Director Ryan Pippin is leading the 2019-2020 marching band into exile.

“Exile” is the name of the program the band is performing this year. Music will include creation music excerpts from the Rites of Spring and a couple of songs from Coldplay. It is loosely based on the story of Adam and Eve.

The show is a collaboration of Pippen, Alexis Ridge and Jimmy Gooch.

“We all created it,” he said.

Pippin is starting his fourth year as the band director at West Marion. He said he has nearly the same number of band members. The band lost a good chunk last year, he said, but a good many talented members moved up to the high school band this year.

Pippin said he has seen the band grow in the last four years, noting a shift in culture. He said the band has been pursuing excellence, and individual students are working with the staff to produce a love of playing, performing and music.

Pippen said he tries to instill four things into his students: discipline, integrity, character and excellence. He wants the band members to know when they are out and about they are still representing the band.

“We want to go back to state and we want to do well,” Pippen said regarding the plans for the year. He said they have gone the last two years so it is now the standard.

“We want to show up, compete and turn some heads this year,” Pippen said of this year’s goals.

The band will be performing this year at the Azaleas City Marching Festival in Mobile, Ala., on Sept. 28, Regionals at Gulfport on Oct. 12, War Eagle Classic in Waynesboro on Oct. 19 and hopefully the State Competition on Nov. 2.

In March 2020, the band will go to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., to participate in some band workshops. Pippen said he wanted to do something fun with the students this school year. 

Pictured Above: After a strong performance at the 2018 state competition, the West Marion band is looking to turn some heads again this year. Its schedule includes a trip to Walt Disney World in March to participate in some workshops. | Photo by Susan Amundson