Bartlett Yancey High School Band Director Solomon Reynolds stresses to his band the importance of remembering they are not only representing themselves, but their school and community as well, when traveling to away games and band competitions.
The Buccaneers have heeded Reynolds’ message and it resulted in the Bucs winning the Falcon Spirit Award — an award given to the band that showed the best spirit and sportsmanship — at the Southeast Guilford Invitational a few weeks back.
Last Friday, Reynolds and the rest of the band discovered they aren’t the only ones to take pride in themselves and in their communities.
BY had just gotten back onto the bus after performing at the BY football away game against Graham Oct. 18. Members had just started settling into their seats when they noticed something wasn’t right.
One by one, they started noticing they were missing a majority of their stuff. One student in particular, flutist Evan Watlington — who is autistic — noticed he was missing his Nintendo Switch, a gift he received a few years ago as a Christmas present.
Despite the situation, Reynolds kept his faith, thinking the band had fallen prey to a harmless inside joke.
“Honestly, at first, I thought one of our kids had hid some stuff and it ‘ha, ha, funny prank,’” Reynolds said. “But as more kids started saying they were missing stuff, I was like ‘Okay, something’s going on here.”
The first-year director stepped off the bus still thinking it was a prank perhaps pulled by the football team. However, a call to BY football Joshua Brumfield revealed that wasn’t the case and that his guys had fallen victim to the same theft.
Few have to deal with situations like the one Reynolds was facing and he quickly found his college professors hadn’t taught protocol for these type of situations.
“This being my first band director job, I really had no idea what to do,” said Reynolds. “I was like, ‘Okay, do I call the police? Is this how this stuff works?’ It was a weird feeling and it went from confusion to anger to being upset in all of five minutes.”
Reynolds and Brumfield called local law enforcement officers who arrived quickly and took statements from both the band and football team. However, they also informed the two there was a low chance of them finding the thieves and an ever lower chance of finding the stolen goods, including Washington’s Nintendo Switch.
Both the band and the football team got back on their buses and drove back to Yanceyville. Still bothered by the incident and wanting to replace Watlington’s gaming system, Reynolds took to Facebook and posted about the incident.
Little did Reynolds know, he had just started a chain reaction.
“The original post, I think [band captain Hailey Rimmer’s] dad told me got something like 130 shares. I don’t even know 130 people from Caswell County,” Reynolds, who commutes from Greensboro, said laughing.
However, the Caswell community wasn’t the only one to get involved. Graham and Alamance County residents chipped in on the effort and even a few members of the Reidsville community contributed, putting the two schools’ long-standing rivalry aside for a good cause. By the end of the weekend, Reynolds had the money to replace Watlington’s Nintendo Switch.
Needless to say, but still worth saying, Reynolds was taken back by the support.
“To see people I’ve never seen before, never met before, not only share it, but to comment this band director cares about his kids please support him, was really amazing,” Reynolds said. “It’s amazing to have that ability to connect with people without knowing them.”
Days later, Reynolds — along with the rest of the band — presented Watlington with his new Nintendo Switch in class.
“He was really excited,” said Reynolds. “He took a picture with the whole band of him holding the Switch and we put that on our Instagram page. He was really excited. He kept saying thank you, thank you, and immediately took a picture of himself with it and posted it to his Snapchat feed. The kids in class were clapping and cheering. It was a really good moment.”
Talk about something starting bad, but ending well.