For the Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School Gator Sound Band an appropriate quote would be “It was the worst of times, it was the best of times,” a twist on the classic Dickens line. Hurricane Michael roared through, destroying the band room’s roof in its wake. Consequently, when instruments were inspected, several had rusted quite significantly, which decimated the already thin cache of available musical devices. Fortunately, our big-hearted neighbors, both near and far, whose generosity has characterized Gulf County’s post-disaster experience extended their caring arms to the band.
The catalyst for the band’s rebounding good fortune is Ms. Donna Thompson, Gulf District School system’s reading coach and a very concerned citizen. “When Donna learned of our band’s dire situation, she immediately started searching for solutions,” states WHS principal Jay Bidwell. “Her network of contacts, fostered through her work with the Gulf County Educational Foundation, really came through in the pinch for us,” he continued. In fact, Donna’s counterparts in the Polk County Educational Foundation, Susan Copeland and Beth Cummings facilitated raising funds to aid the band to the “tune” of donating four brand new instruments. Now Wewahitchka band director, Mrs. Daphne Lister, has her young prodigies proudly sporting a pair of shiny trumpets along with a set of equally glossy flutes.
“We still have a ways to go to replace all our damaged instruments,” comments Lister, “but this donation has provided a giant first step on our journey to replenish the items we need to field a viable band.”
Wewahitchka High would like to extend a huge thank you to The Polk County Educational Foundation. “The generosity of the many individuals and organizations that have helped us recover from Hurricane Michael has been overwhelming,” says Bidwell, “and we are so appreciative of these ladies who helped our band out when it was severely down on its luck. Hopefully, our fans and community members will soon be able to experience The Gator Sound belting out fight songs and the Alma Mater, and I hope they realize that it took the support of many fine people like Donna, Susan, and Beth to return our band and our school to a semblance of normalcy.”