It’s well known that Attaché is one of the greatest show choirs in the country; they have been champs for the past three years in a row.
One of the most essential tools to the success of Clinton’s beloved show choir is the pit band. Mr. Robert Allen, a 23-year veteran of music education, directs the pit. Mr. Allen got his start in the program in 1999 and has been innovating and streamlining the performing power of the band ever since he joined the program. He said of his start, “When I first started doing this there weren’t that many groups in Mississippi but now everyone has customized music, everyone has great players, great singers all these things.” His ensemble of players rehearses around the clock, always striving to be cutting edge.
Allen uses the time-honored mantra of “get in and work and get out”. “The class periods are important and that is one thing that has helped be successful, the class is what keeps the band feeling like everyone is together like a family”, said Mr. Allen. The class periods offer much more time for the band to play and grow accustomed to everybody’s sound than just afternoon practices.
The pit practices vary depending on the time year, but generally if it is closer to competition in the months of January, February, March and April, they will be found working 3 days a week solidly. The songs that are picked for the show are to be represented visually with a stage presence and sonically with the skill of the musicians. The band’s actual composition is 15 members which are divided into a horn section with trumpet, saxophone, and trombone, a drum-set with auxiliary percussion for other percussion sounds, guitars, bass guitar, and keyboard synthesizer so they can cover a wide variety of synth sounds. Mr. Allen doesn’t hold his players to the standards of regular high school musicians; he compares them to the best he has ever heard. The creative process of the band can be summed up as “If you can dream it up, then you can figure out way to achieve it.” Mr. Allen and Mr. Fehr have to be creative in writing music so that it best fits the players that they have. This is also an advantage to the group as they have in-house writers that know how their people sound and what they can and cannot perform.
Attaché will be performing on February 17th at the South Central Classic in Homewood, AL, on February 24th at the Petal Show Choir Invitational in Petal, Ms. In March, they are performing on the 17th at Xtravaganza in Los Alamitos, CA, and thru the 21st to the 24th they are performing at the Show Choir Nationals in Nashville, TN. Then wrapping up the season with the Spring Revue in Clinton from May 2nd to the 5th.
Article by TCC Intern and CHS Senior, Parker Galloway.