In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

A Tribute and Celebration

We were the class of 1958, members of the Greatest Generation as well as children of the Greatest Generation. Born in 1940, we are also called members of the Traditional Generation.

Our childhood, post World War II, "was the best of times . . . it was the age of wisdom . . . it was the epoch of belief . . .it was the season of Light . . . it was the spring of hope . . . we had everything before us . . .we were all going direct to Heaven . . . ." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.) At least, that's the way I felt about it. We were truly blessed.

- Ouida Tomlinson -

This blog is a place for 1958 graduates of Meridian, Mississippi, High School to stay in touch, post their news, items of interest and photographs.

CLASS OF 1958 MEMORIES (Click to read all posts relating to sports, honors, graduation and other memories of our class in 1957-58.)




Saturday, April 28, 2012

Come And Toot Your Horn - One More Time

April 27, 2012

Come and toot your horn — one more time

By Anne McKee / guest columnist

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Yes, the Meridian High School Band Reunion is planned for Thursday, May 3, 6:30 PM, Briarwood Country Club. The reunion is primarily for band members during the years of the 1950s and 1960s that were under the direction of band directors Lane, Jenks and Pacetti and assistant band directors, Dowdy and Wendling.

Come and toot your horn one more time!

In 1959, under the direction of E. L. Pacetti, Meridian High School Band was named Mississippi’s Greatest Show Band primarily due to the precision maneuvers introduced by Director Pacetti. Meridian High School Band was a Double AA Band, a great distinction. During the 50s/60s, the band was always the last to perform during the Mississippi State Band Contest in Jackson and the stands would fill with band directors from around the state to witness and appreciate the greatest show band in the state at the time. Over one hundred band members filled three Greyhound Charter Buses that motored to all out of town football games in addition to state competitions.

The first year Director Pacetti took MHS Band to State Competition; the band marched on to the field and formed in the end zone as usual, but there was nothing usual about the remaining show. The fanfare that introduced the band was the March of the Gladiators from the movie, Ben Hur– thus began the double half steps, turn-round’s, and diamond formations that brought the stands to their feet. They remained on their feet during the entire show; such was the amazement and appreciation by the attendees of a high school band that performed intricate maneuvers on the level of a college band – never seen before during the Mississippi High School Band Competition.

May 1960 found Meridian High School Band in Enid, Oklahoma as part of the Tri-State Band Festival. This was a competition of 115 high school bands. Meridian High School Band placed Number One in Marching Parade and Number Two in Concert. These were the glory days of Meridian High School Band!

These accomplishments represented many hard years of work, hard years of building a band to perform smoothly and competently on the field and in concert. Band Directors, Lane, Jenks, and Pacetti, each contributed a vital part that brought Meridian High School Band to the top of its game.

George Shannon from WTOK TV announced local football games and band presentations. It was Mr. Shannon that first suggested the nickname – Greatest Band in All the Land. And indeed it was!

Who can forget the “M” formation while the Wildcat Fight Song was played at the end of each half time show? Or, I’m a Little Tea Pot Short and Stout – when the band formed an outline of a tea pot and the stanza played, Tip me over and pour me out, mysteriously smoke poured forth from the spout (accomplished by a band member with a C0-2 fire extinguisher). Talk about an attention-grabber!

During the 1959-1960 school terms, several Meridian High School Band members formed The Continental’s. They featured big band music reminiscent of the Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Glen Miller swing style. This group was formed because of their love of the big band era music which was not popular with the young set at that time. They found themselves in demand for local engagements – locations such as the Knights of Columbus Hall, the Old Officers Club, Key Field, and Temple Theatre Ballroom plus other area venues including East Mississippi/West Alabama. In 1961, the band won the Distributive Education Talent Show – what excitement for twelve young instrumentalists.

Band Boosters – the driving force of any high school band. It was this group of enthusiastic supporters that helped to accomplish funds needed for the Enid OK trip in 1960. One of the most dedicated of this group was Mrs. Lena Scalco.

Any Meridian happening of distinction found Meridian High School Band as a participant. One of the best remembered was in May 1955, the band was on hand for the Third Annual Jimmie Rodgers Parade that featured Elvis and Hank Snow.

Today old photos of Meridian High School Band during the 1950s and 60s can be found around town in local restaurants and department stores, but none of these catch the spirit and excitement of the time. It was a time of dedication – marching, marching, marching. It was a time of accomplishment – Mississippi’s Greatest High School Show Band! It was a time of declaration – We are the Meridian High School Wildcat Band! It was a time of comradely and preparation – concerts, field maneuvers, student conductors, sight reading. It was a time of great fun, hard work, and pride of those things accomplished – all in the name of The Meridian High School Band.

So, all of you Wildcat Band members, come out and toot your horn one more time!

What: Meridian High School Band Reunion – 1950s and 60s

When: Thursday, May 3 at 6:30 PM

Where: Briarwood Country Club

For more info: Noel Evans, 601-485-9729


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