Tenaha’s Sours has blazed into Tenaha….
Febrauary 2, 2015 - And he is rewriting the script. An unwavering energy for kids and for band is what makes Brian Sours’ attempt to convert a long-time successful “military” style band into a state championship caliber “corps” style band more of a reality than a hope. Coaches would call Sours a “gym rat”. His mind is never “off”. He is working and developing ideas to improve the Tenaha Band program around the clock. The task of converting marching styles was a tall one met with serious skepticism in the circles of traditional band instruction. But, confident in his abilities as a teacher, armed with an unmatched obsession with being the best, Sours has seen the transition move faster and more ahead of schedule than he ever imagined. Mr. Sours knew his task was tall and he prioritized music and sound in his transition and building process. “I knew there were plenty of doubters about how successful we would be making the switch. But, I knew that once I was able to get buy-in from the students and trust, that we could begin the process. Selling our expectations and selling myself was key. I had to form trust and relationships with our students. It’s still a work in progress, but I think our result speaks for itself on our early success.”
Already, the Tenaha Band Culture is changed and constantly changing. Higher expectations that are more readily met because of Sours’ commitment to ensuring they are met is the cornerstone to the Tiger Band’s task. Sours, never satisfied, says that while he’s proud of the first division rating in last fall’s Area Marching Contest, he’s “aware that as a marching band that we are far from a finished product and likely received high marks due to our efforts to correct musicality and sound.” But as he looks ahead to the spring and even into next fall’s state qualifying contests in marching, Sours says, “We can’t control certain factors like judging, but we can control our quality. And I expect our quality to force other bands to be a lot better than pretty good to keep us from advancing.”
The major factor that Sours points to beyond the establishment of raised expectations is a diligent and specific approach to instruction. This is where he credits his assistants Rhett Pilcher and Brandi Swann with “doing a lion’s share of teaching in fundamental areas that help give us a chance to produce quality music as a full band”. During every band period from 4th grade up through High School, Sours, Pilcher, and Swann are intensely instructing students within their musical disciplines for the entirety of the class period. As Sours puts it, “we don’t have time to take a break or a day off, if we are serious about our expectation to be state recognized.”
In the end, Sours expects a lot from the Tenaha band in the coming years. “Rome wasn’t built in day, but I fully expect to have a state recognized band tomorrow.” And when you combine Sours’ “gym rat” approach with the fantastic and talented kids at Tenaha ISD, that vision is more likely to quickly become a reality soon, often, and always