A Bond Amongst the Band
Kilgore inspires young musicians at JCHS
After six years, William Kilgore and this year's seniors are working hard to make a lasting impression on one another, and Jackson County High School before playing their final band concert together.
In his fourth year as the Band Director at Jackson County High School, Kilgore previously taught at West Jackson Middle School, where he started in 2001.
During his time at WJMS, he grew close to his students and was fortunate enough to transition to the high school around the same time as this year’s senior class. Aware that his students are impacted by the band, Kilgore said he is encouraged by his band members to make the band successful for those now and those to come in future years.
“If you come into the band room, you’ll see a lot of trophies, but it is not the trophies that we measure success by,” Kilgore said. “It is the success of each individual and when we see them give their best.”
Kilgore’s favorite thing about his job is the way that his students light up with excitement when they accomplish their goals. His passion for music and helping young adults make good choices is why he was made for this job.
And the connection Kilgore has with his students is evident. Each month the Rotary Club selects students of the month. Those students select their most influential teacher.
Kilgore has been selected as the influential teacher twice this school year.
“Mr. Kilgore is a kind and patient man who has helped generations of students develop a love for music. His dedication to music goes unmatched as he spends countless hours in the school teaching, directing, and providing a listening ear to anyone who needs it,” said Senior Jack Venable, who selected Kilgore as the influential teacher for the month of January.
When you enter the double doors to the fine arts hallway, there is no doubt the energy is vibrant. It is even a safe haven for some students. Being part of the band family means teamwork and commitment and the students of JCHS pour their time and energy into the success of the band.
The energy and success commenced with Kilgore, whose inspiration has resulted in multiple grand championships, awards and distinguished honors over the past few years.
“When you enter the double doors to enter the fine arts hallways, it is like you are entering a sanctum. It’s more like walking into your home. But when it is work time, we work hard,” said Kilgore.
Kilgore credits where he is currently because of the band and his involvement in church. That is why he wants the band program to be successful and give students the same opportunities that made him who he is today.
The marching band puts in at least one hundred hours before the first day of school, working throughout the summer to prepare for the upcoming year.
Working hard is a virtue for the JCHS band, though. In the last two years, the marching band has won two Grand Championships. The Jazz Band is set to perform at the Athens Classic Center on Thursday, January 26th.
This past fall, JCHS had a percussion ensemble travel to Indianapolis to compete in a national level competition. They placed fourth.
“William Kilgore is a truly inspirational educator. His passion for excellence in music education and his dedication to our students' learning and development is evident each and every day,” said JCHS Principal Jason Wester.
“The amazing achievements of our Marching, Concert, Jazz, and Color Guard groups are a direct result of his leadership and talent in working with young people to help them reach their highest potential as musicians and students. JCHS is blessed to have William Kilgore lead our band program.”
Kilgore values his students and their parents for all they do to help ensure the band is taken care of throughout the year. From countless hours in concession stands to driving the equipment trucks, he wants them to know how much he appreciates them.
“We have a dream team, between the band members, families, sponsors, Mr. Tinnell, Mrs. Pitman and our two feeders at the middle school, Mindy Griffith and Chandler Dickerson,” said Kilgore.
Teamwork is the driving force behind him, but the band program would not be the same without Kilgore and all his dedication.
“I’m glad that I said yes,” Kilgore said, explaining he was hesitant about his transition to the high school because he did not want to leave his middle schoolers behind.
It was when he realized all the seniors at the time would not have a director, he knew it was time to step up and make sure that the band program could live on for all these phenomenal students and musicians.
For those students who graduate this spring, Kilgore expressed how he will miss them after walking on that stage to receive their diplomas in May.
“I am going to miss them, we’ve been together for this long and they are a strong group of students that I have grown close with,” said Kilgore.