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Getting the band back together

A.J. Cook is in his first year as director of the George Rogers Clark High School Band.

The only thing crazier than moving to a new job, meeting a new group of students and keeping up a tradition of excellence in a proven program, is learning that your first season isn’t going to happen at all.

The Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) decided not to allow a competitive band season this year because of coronavirus concerns, a decision that left its members with little to look forward to this year.

Cook and his wife, Emily, aren’t letting the lack of an official season stop them from giving the band students what they deserve. The Cooks work together in harmony to direct every step and note of their new group in a way that both encourages and challenges those who are fortunate enough to belong.

A.J. Cook is no stranger to the band life. He successfully led the Cumberland County Band to place third in the KMEA state finals and has been dreaming of joining a program like GRC’s since he was young. His vision for this band is one of community involvement with a focus on developing additional successful small groups.

Hopefully, Cook will get his opportunity to let this band shine in the coming years. For now, the band is working on a special performance for parents as a way to show off their hard work, even without the chance to enter formal competition.