Banneker High School Band Wins $10,000 Prize
At the end of every rehearsal and performance, Banneker High School Band Director Emanuel Johnson leads his students in the Trojan Creed.
“One of our lines in the band creed is ‘discipline is the nucleus of all things successful,’” Johnson said. “Whether you are part of a marching band, a family, or an organization, you have to have discipline in order to move forward.’”
Moving forward is exactly what Banneker’s band program will do after winning $10,000 from the Great Atlanta Band Challenge. Witherite Law Group, 1-800-TruckWreck, Hot 107.9 and Majic 107.5/97.5 put out the call for the best bands across the metro region. The band sent in a performance video and the public voted.
“When the band first entered the contest, Banneker was at the bottom,” Johnson said. “We rallied together and got our community involved.”
By the time the contest closed, Banneker came in second place with more than 97,000 votes.
The Banneker Trojan band will make the most of the prize money, laying the foundation for future students through a feeder program. Students from McNair and Woodland middle schools will be given the opportunity to experience marching, symphonic, concert and jazz band on a high school level. Johnson understands the benefits personally. In junior high school, he was able to march with his local high school band.
“It gave me a little more encouragement, a little more to look forward to,” he said.
In addition to building Banneker’s feeder program, Johnson said the prize money will help the school’s roughly 100 young musicians hone their skills. Banneker will use the award to bring in musical clinicians, set up private lessons, and pay for travel and performance opportunities for students for events, including the Magic City Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Florida Classic in Orlando.
The influence band has on students is evident to everyone who has seen them at work.
“Mr. Johnson is always looking out for the best interest of his band—and working extremely long, long hours in preparation,” said Banneker Principal Dr. Jason Stamper. “They’re prepared to do their very best as performers, but also prepared for their post-secondary options in band, or in life.”
It is possible another Atlanta Band Challenge win is in the future for Banneker. Johnson said when next year’s contest comes around, “We’re gonna jump in there …and try to win again.”