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Bonds wants more parents involved

From regimental bands parading and accompanying soldiers to the Revolutionary and Civil War to half time at a football game. Bands have been an essential part of American tradition.

Phil Bonds did not come from a musical family. His love of music came when he participated in his own high school’s band. He was inspired by his band director whom he refers to as being “a fine human being,” to play the saxophone.

He received his Music of Education degree from the University of North Alabama and later completed graduate studies work at the University of Alabama. He had the opportunity to work adjunct staff at the University of West Alabama and well as an associate professor at North Georgia State University.

Today, Bonds is currently the band director for Demopolis City Schools. He has directed the band for 23 years and said the most difficult aspect of working with children is not the discipline issue, but the lack of parental support. He emphasized the need for parents to be more involved.

“There is only 15 percent of participating parents,” Bonds said. He is disappointed in parents’ lack of participation. He recognizes those few who have made an effort to support by volunteering at concession stands during games or playing a helping hand in fundraisers.

His vision for the band is to “continue in the same vain.” He hopes to “increase the number of good, quality musicians,” as well as offering the students several trips to historical sites, like The Alamo and Washington. He doesn’t seem bothered by the recent budget cuts; however, he realizes that newer uniforms and equipment will need to be purchased as the current ones depreciate.

Bonds enjoys listening to all kinds of music. However, he draws the line when lyrics are vulgar and offensive. His intensity provides the band with the ability to “melt” both an academic and entertaining component. “The band is multidimensional… it’s a pedagogy of all instruments, along with a curriculum about that instrument.” he said. Bonds doesn’t want the educational aspect overlooked.

“Having a band is one of the best public relations vehicles a school can use,” said Bonds, who knows the prestige a band can bring to an institution, especially an excellent band at Demopolis High. The band has humbly accepted seven standing ovations this year, reigned superior at district contests, and won first place in the small class division contest at the March Band Festival.

Bonds possess an intrinsic appreciation for music and education. His ability to bring together for both worlds is impressive and unique. More importantly, he believes the band is vital to the city of Demopolis – the town it serves.