The Red and Grey

The Student News Site of Madison County High School

The Red and Grey

The Red and Grey

New beginnings for band

Meet Dr. Allen

Last year band kids faced a sudden change. The old band director, Carson Lee, announced in December that he was leaving MCHS to be a flight instructor. The question popped up in many people’s minds: Who is the next band director going to be? Theories about who was going to be the new director started flying around the school. Some people thought the middle school band director, Mr Smith, was going to move up. Meanwhile, others thought one of Mr. Lee’s melophile (a person who loves music) friends was going to take charge. On July 1, 2023, Dr Allen, a “huge Manchester United fan” and East Carolina University graduate, officially took the job as the MCHS band director. 

Dr. Allen’s inspiration to be a musician and a brass instrumentalist was due to a common thing, before joining the band, that most middle schools do by bringing their instruments to the elementary schools. The middle school lets the future musicians try them out and see which one they think they are interested in and is best suited for them. Dr. Allen compared this experience to being like a “petting zoo.” When he went through this experience in the fifth grade, a trumpet player showed him how to make his first musical note. Like other teachers, Dr. Allen took his inspiration from being a musician to become a band teacher. Influenced by his relatives to start studying music, Dr. Allen began his career of being a band teacher in 1994. However, since then, he has also served as a member of the U.S. Army Bands. Before coming to MCHS, he ended-up with a band director job in the middle of the year. After that he went around from school to school, middle, high and universities, teaching the different bands for twenty-six years. Dr. Allen said, “My work has taken me to North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Georgia (again), Virginia, and Georgia (finally!)” His wife, who was born and raised in Madison County, told him a couple years ago that she wants to go home. When this job opened up, it was perfect for him. He says teaching band is “what the Lord called [him] to do,” and he “couldn’t imagine doing anything different.”

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Filkins Photography

Dr. Allan has a lot on his plate. In the summer he was participating as a brass instructional staff for the Phantom Regiment located in Rockford, Illinois. The Regiment is “an independent marching performance ensemble that is a part of Drum Corps International.” Each year they compete in the World Championships in Indianapolis, and this year with his help the band placed seventh. Now he is juggling the marching band and being a dad. He is a father to a nine year old son named Daniel. Dr. Allen shared some advice for people on how to balance your home and work life, saying “My thought on this is that you have to set your work priorities and work boundaries and then honor them. Part of being well-balanced in this job is when you are home, you are fully home, so that when you are at work, you are fully engaged at work.” Each of these different jobs is a huge responsibility he has to handle. Somehow through all of it he keeps a positive and calm mindset even with the stressful moments. Dr. Allen does not have stressful times with his students, but getting to know the faculty in this new environment for him can be stressful. He added, “Like it is for anyone moving into a new environment, you want to put your best foot forward and show that you can be relied on to be a good team member.  Getting to know a new group of people can take time and doing the hard work of getting to know everyone takes true quality time.  It can’t be rushed.” 

The band is thrilled to have Dr. Allen leading the band this year. Many say that, with his past experience, he is leading the band in a positive direction. Senior band member, Logan Dover, said that, “Back in late Spring when we got the chance to meet Doc, we all swiftly became excited to work with him given his personality and experience.  Back in July, when our MCHS Marching Band had Band Camp, Doc brought the band together, forging a friendly environment that encourages growth and contribution from each member of the band (Marching Band and our Concert Bands) under a common banner. Doc has always made sure to set up everyone for success, helping out in any and every way he can.  He truly is a great inspiration for the band – not just for what we all strive to do musically, but also how we all wish grow as people.” From his perspective, Dr. Allen said that his first impression of the band was that, “The band loves to play and march and works incredibly hard.” He also shared that the membership and leadership team is very hard working, get along well together, and is overall a happy band. The band did face a few challenges when trying to learn the new marching show. The band faced some inclement weather for the final performance of band camp. Then in August Dr. Allen said they “have had to be inside for some excessive heat, but that’s Georgia in August.” Despite the bad weather, the band is looking ahead to all the different opportunities that will present themselves like performances, representing MCHS regionally and nationally, and educational experiences. Many band students, including myself, can envision the band doing wonderful things under his leadership in the future. He not only cares about your performance but the process and the memories involved. You can tell Dr. Allen is truly passionate about band in general and only wants the best high school experience for each and every kid in the band.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Haley Filkins, Staff Writer
Haley Filkins is thrilled to be involved in The Red and Grey this year. This is her third year playing the baritone in the marching band, and her first year playing euphonium in the Wind Ensemble. She has an annoying brother, three dogs, and an elderly cat who has turned her into a cat person. She joined The Red and Grey because she enjoys writing and wants to learn more about her community.

Comments (0)

All The Red and Grey Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *