Liberty High School

Young Student Becomes Biggest Fan of Liberty High School Band

Oct 01, 2015

You know you are special if you have won an Emme Award.

Students in the Liberty High School Redhawk Band covet the little beaded bracelets that are the Emme Awards. They know that Emme Benton doesn’t give them to just anyone. The five-year-old only awards her bracelets to the people she sees and hears trying their best or showing marked improvement.

When Emme was just two years old, Liberty band members marched through her neighborhood as part of their annual fall March-a-Thon fundraiser. That year the band did more than raise money - they got Emme and her family as part of the Liberty Redhawk Band family.

The toddler fell in love with the Liberty band, the music and the marching. Her adoration has not waned as she has aged and begun kindergarten at Isbell Elementary School.

“Neither of her parents had been in band and the family had no history with marching band,” said Preston Hazzard, who was director of Liberty band that year and is now Frisco ISD’s Assistant Director of Fine Arts. “She just fell in love with the band.” 

In the last few years, Emme, her mom Adriane and big brother William, who wants to play the trombone someday, have come to know the band members by name. During summer band practice, the family would walk over to school to observe. Emme began making posters and Emme Award bracelets and passing them out to the students. The band students have returned her affection with hugs, high fives and lessons in marching and directing.

Band Directors James Weaver, Marty Ball, Zack Anderson and Rob Parks are amazed at her continued loyalty and at how the students have embraced their younger fan. Ball says he is always excited to see what outfits and hair bows Emme wears.

“She makes special hand painted T-shirts that say things like ‘I love the Band,’” Ball said.

For her first football game, the Liberty-Lone Star High School game, Emme put sparkly clef notes on her red, white and black bows.

“She picks out ornaments that are musical instruments or notes to wear in her hair,” Adriane Benton said.

At that game in September, Emme got to see the marching routine she had watched over the summer performed for the first time in full under the Friday Night Lights at Toyota Stadium.

School Board member John Hoxie, a former band student himself, invited the family to watch the halftime show from one of the guest suites. Emme spent the first half of the game on the field helping the drum majors direct the band like an old pro. But her mouth fell open as she gasped with excitement when the band began its routine called Unbridled at half time. As they prepared to march out onto the field in full band regalia, Emme looked at her mom and exclaimed, “They are wearing their feathers!”

Weaver and Hoxie agree that this early love of music and the band is the best outcome of March-a-Thon. Hoxie, who has seen other young kids get excited about music while watching band students march through other neighborhoods, noted, “You may make a some money, but this is really what is important.”

Emme wants to play the flute or the clarinet someday. Watching her interact with the band and her friends, Drum Majors Jenna Heflin, Julie Kim, Pierce Roberts and Landon Shumway, it is fairly obvious she also dreams of one day leading the Liberty High School Redhawk Band on to the field of victory.