Marching Wildcats on the move


During Alex McKenna’s first year as the band and choir teacher for Whiteoak High School, the school’s Wildcats Marching Band have been chosen to participate in the Findlay Market Opening Day parade in Cincinnati and received 50 new uniforms.

Whiteoak High School Principal Jason Iles is proud of the work McKenna has done. “He’s a graduate of (Ohio University), and he’s done an outstanding job,” said Iles. “We’re excited to have him and really excited for the band program as a whole.”

Each of the new uniforms cost between $500 and $1,000. “The school board was able to fund that for us so they were able to get those taken care of for the band, which is really nice of them, so we didn’t have to worry about the music boosters covering any of that cost,” said McKenna.

McKenna is looking forward to the parade performance. “I’m very excited because the parade is a big deal,” said McKenna. “There are 22 or 23 other high school bands from around southern Ohio that are going to be in that parade, so it’s really cool to be able to take the kids to that parade and get them to see some other things from around southern Ohio.”

He said the band members are looking forward to performing in the parade as well. “They were very excited because they have never done something like that before, so this will probably be the biggest parade that they have done,” said McKenna. “They have done some similar, smaller parades, but this is going to be definitely the biggest in terms of how many people are in the parade and how many spectators are going to be there.”

McKenna is planning for the future of the school’s music program. “I’m looking forward to building the program and definitely adding more performances to our yearly schedule,” he said. “I know in the past the band here hasn’t had a whole lot of performances every year, but we’re looking to add quite a few every year to get them out and about to show what they are capable of.”

“He’s done a great job of growing the program, and I know that he has a lot of things in store for them,” said Iles. “He has aspirations to be able to participate in some of the more exciting things that you see going on that local bands are participating in such as Blink — that is something big in Cincinnati where they put a bunch of lights and different things on their instruments and are able to march.”

Iles said McKenna has exceeded expectations as a first-year educator and band instructor. “You wouldn’t know that when you walk into his classroom — just the growth that he’s shown with the kids the last six months of being here has just been tremendous,” said Iles.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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