LaFayette band director talks program growth

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Over the past five years, Lafayette High School Marching Band has seen improvement in student development, competition ratings and program growth under Band Director Michael Floyd.

“Since I’ve been there, the program has grown exponentially in all areas: financially, attendance, musically,” Floyd said. 

According to Floyd, the band program claims about 20-30% of the school population. Usually, about three to five of the top 10 students in the school belong to the band program.

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“This past school year, the valedictorian was a band student,” Floyd said. 

Floyd said his band students have received about $15 million in scholarship funds for the past five years. The population of the program has also grown under Floyd’s leadership. According to him, when he first arrived, there were only about 38 band students from sixth to 12th grade.

“Now, we have at least 140 [students] from third or fourth grade through twelfth grade,” Floyd said.

The band performs in multiple competitions and competitive performances every year. According to Floyd, the band has received superior ratings in many of them. On Sept. 24., the marching band performed at a competition in Columbus, Georgia, and earned second place.

Floyd is in charge of the high school, middle school and elementary school music programs. Since he began working as the director,  a jazz ensemble as been added to the program. He also oversees a pep band and a parade band.

The band program also hosts several fundraisers throughout the year, including the haunted band room and the Christmas festivals.

Floyd said he hopes the upcoming merger of Valley High and LaFayette will yield better resources for instruments, but also additional programs and instructors for his students. Still, Floyd said he worries that the culture of his students might get lost in the transition. 

“I definitely feel like the merger can be a great thing,” Floyd said. “I do have a few worries and a few concerns that many of our students whom I’ve made sure we’re taking care of…will become a number instead of a student, and their voice will go unheard, especially if their culture is not known.”

Sharing this fear, one of Floyd’s band students has started a petition to make Floyd the band director of the merged school next year. The students distributed the petition with the goal of reaching 1000 signatures. It has collected over 500 signatures, according to Floyd.

“I didn’t have any help in it, but that’s how they felt,” Floyd said. “They were compelled, and they talked to some adults and other people to try to get it done because they know the endless work that I put in with the groups, and they know how much I love the kids.”

Lafayette High Marching Band is a show-style band, according to Floyd. Though he said the band is well-versed across the spectrum, their style has been impacted by student leadership and interests. 

“A lot of times, they might not let them become dancers…Because there’s a need for a certain instrumentation,” Floyd said. “I’m one who wants the kids to be able to be great at whatever they want to be great at. So I give them way more opportunities to switch over to auxiliary or different instruments.”