themonitoronline.gif (15865 bytes)

Current Issue
January 2, 2011






Clubs and Such

BNI (Business Network International) - Cedar Creek Professionals - meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Comfort Suites, located at U.S. Hwy. 175 and TX 198 in Mabank. For more information, call Larry Williams (903) 887-2847 or
Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 887-6549.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Thursday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more info, call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Celebrate Recovery meets each Friday at Rope, Catch & Ride Church in Mabank, located at 570 VZ CR 2807. For more info, call (903) 603-8051.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For info, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943, email,  or (800) 422-2260 or visit
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more info, call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
GriefShare Recovery support group meets at 7 p.m. each Tuesday at Cedar Creek Church of God, located at 142 Rodney Dr., Gun Barrel City. Call (903) 887-0293 for more information.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Thursday at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant in Kemp. For more info, call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. Email  for more information.
Mabank Al-Anon Family Group meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at Mabank First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Families of alcoholics are welcome. Call (903) 887-2781 for info.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 1:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Rainbow Girls, Masonic Youth organization meets on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Cedar Creek Masonic Lodge. For more information contact Donna Dean at
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For info, call (903) 498-2140.
Tamarack Ladies Club meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets at 9 a.m. each Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church of Athens. Call (903) 489-0563 or (903) 675-2600.
Trinity Valley Community College Band meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in the TVCC band hall. Group is open to any community member who plays an instrument. Call (903) 675-6222 for info.
Trinity Valley Singles Support Group meets at 7 p.m. each Monday at Athens First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall on Lovers Lane. This is a support group for singles of all ages. For more info, call Jean Love at (903) 451-4697 or Donna Stinson (903) 675-7270.









main   sports  news  obits  lake life  events  views  classifieds  

Lake Life


Make way for the band
Kemp High School band breaks school records with first UIL Sweepstakes and qualification to UIL Area marching contest
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Who doesn’t thrill to the sound of a big band as it marches in a parade or take the field at halftime? You can tell that those musicians are having a ball while performing in step with one another.
KHSband.jpg (339148 bytes)
Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Student leaders (from left) Rhyan Pennington, Raymond Morris, Caleb Murray, Veronica Valentin, Toni Old, Bill Neighbors, Hailey Stovall, Ben Dillon and Allen Old represent their 85-member band.

As spectators, parents and friends of band students, we know a little about the kind of time commitment band requires. What we may not understand are the benefits students reap – benefits that keep them coming back year after year, making the sacrifices it takes to be a member of a top team of performers.
All of the schools in our district have award-winning arts programs. However, we wanted to focus our attention on the unprecedented successes of one of the smallest schools in the 3A district.
For the past three years, the Kemp Band program has been under the combined leadership of director Jimmy Polk and assistant director Marc Christy. Together these two have developed a band program that has propelled the district to its first ever UIL Division I rating in both Marching Band and Concert Band, making Kemp a UIL Sweepstakes winner.
This past fall, the high school marching band continued its success by advancing to the UIL Area marching contest.
“Receiving Division I ratings in both events in the same school year is a very rare occurrence,” Christy explained. To put that into perspective, in the district’s total years of operation, it would be comparable to never having won a district championship until now.
Additionally, one junior high and five high school students qualified for the All-Region Band, amidst heavy competition. Finally, this past spring, 31 students advanced to the state level of competition in solo and ensemble performance, the most Kemp has ever sent.
With a band enrollment of approximately 330 students (6th through 12th grade) these achievements were accomplished with a 165 to 1 student-to-director ratio.
“The only way we could achieve these results is with great student leadership,” Polk told The Monitor. “I rely heavily on them, especially the seniors.”
The band is organized in sections, with rankings in each for flutes, clarinets, trumpets, percussion, etc. These section leaders communicate any changes in band events, rehearsal schedules and competitions. They make sure everyone in their section has transportation to rehearsals and performances, and are ready for each event.
“They often lead section rehearsals and set a standard for behavior and performance,” Polk explained.
“Our student leaders are pivotal to our success,” he said. (The students feel the same way about Polk and Christy.)
After a lengthy audition process, senior Hailey Stovall was awarded the position of drum major for the band.
Stovall was one of the clarinet players that scored so highly as part of the UIL Division I Clarinet Quartet.
Stovall is confident about her future. She plans on a career in the medical field. “There are job opportunities, room for advancement as well as opportunity to continue my education,” she told The Monitor.
The choice for Stovall as drum major should not come as a surprise, when you consider she holds officer posts with three other school organizations, as well as the honor of class valedictorian.
She keeps up with her band leadership, while also competing scholastically in UIL Literary Criticism, Reading, Writing and Social Studies, turning in admirable performances in each. Additionally, she works on the weekends at Whatz-Up Family Entertainment in Seven Points as a birthday party hostess.
“The biggest thing band has given me this year is support,” she said. Stovall’s mother died last October, the day before district band competition (Oct. 3).
“Mr. Polk came up to the hospital to tell me I didn’t have to perform, but I couldn’t let the band down. Besides, my mother always supported my band activity, a lot. She wouldn’t want me to let that go. We got a Division 2 that day, which encouraged all of us to do better, and we did when we went back and got the Division I rating in Mesquite later (that same month).
“ It was good to learn I still had the ability to do it,” she said.
“Band has taught me how to not just think about myself, but to think about everyone else,” she added.
The band vice-president is junior Caleb Murray, an exceptional young man who is being reared by his grandparents. He aspires to become the next drum major. This year, he also played varsity football and participated in the recent musical production of “Footloose.”
He clearly sees himself teaching and directing band students in his professional life.
“Being in band assured me that I want to be a teacher and further my music education,” Murray said. “Perhaps it’s because I’ve had so much fun in band.”
Murray is proficient on both trumpet and French horn. His wish is to become proficient on the cello, and has recently taken up violin.
“I’ve never been able to take private lessons, but I’d like to,” he said.
Murray appreciates the introduction to classical music that band has given him. “Classical music is so difficult, technical and has many nuances,” he said. “As I learn a (classical) piece, I learn about myself and the composer and when I put it all together it makes a collage through which I can express my own emotion.”
He says band has taught him to socialize, helped him develop a good work ethic and taught him humility, along with a sense of respect and duty.
Sophomore valedictorian Ben Dillon has been playing the trumpet for four years and lettered in varsity football this year as a guard. He also participates in powerlifting and golf.
“I feel band has made me more confident in speaking to people, because you’re around a lot of people (in band) and you have to talk,” he said.
Dillon admits to wanting to play guitar, but failing at it, even though he owns two of them. He successfully switch from French horn to trumpet, however. Band has also taught him self-discipline.
“I just stay up later and get it done (homework). I can’t stand turning in late work,” he said. Though he reviews all the colleges’ invitations he receives, he confided that he’d like to go to West Point.
Seniors Veronica Valentin and Toni Old both have younger siblings in band this year. This doesn’t seem to bother them at all. “It’s a good experience for both of us,” Valentin says of her sister Cassie’s participation in the percussion section.
“Band helps me concentrate and be calm,” Old said. “When I’m in band, everything else kind of washes away. It helps me relax.”
Both big sisters are highly involved in other activities in addition to band. Valentin is in drama club and has been a Stingerette drill team member since the seventh grade. When asked how she fits it all in, Valentin replied, “It’s complicated, but you get through it.”
Her unflappable confidence to handle whatever may come is obvious. Valentin describes her experience with band as an extension of herself. “It’s like my second family. Mr. Christy and Mr. Polk are wonderful directors, you learn a lot from them. Both helped me with a rhythm study and notes I didn’t know. And then we got Division I in Ensemble,” she said. “Band has mostly helped me be able to make anyone my friend. You have to get along with anybody.”
Additionally, she noted that her ability to read and comprehend just about anything comes easily and quickly, due to band making her read and memorize music.
One recent scientific study found that musicians have larger planum temporale (brain region related to some reading skills) than non-musicians.
In addition to her commitment to band, Old enjoys the puppet ministry at her church, is a member of the National Honor Society’s BETA Club and loves to read. She’d like to work with children as a physical therapist. “I love to help people, but I’m not cut out to be a teacher, because I have a little bit of a temper,” she said.
Few know that junior Bill Neighbors, percussionist, recently completed his Eagle Scout project. It’s the Solar Walk along the lakeside road at Purtis Creek State Park near Eustace.
“That project and band required a great deal of persistence and dedication,” he said, a dedication that continues to help him in many other areas of his life.
He also credits band with instilling a sense of teamwork. “Band is the biggest team sport there is,” he said.
This year was his first time to compete for All-Region band. “I was nervous and was the fourth one to play. But I’m glad I had the experience of going. I know I’ll do better next time,” he said.
He recommends band to anyone, as long as they understand “it takes hard work, which results in rewards. Playing a majestic piece makes you feel something great and big is happening, and I’m a part of it,” he said.
Fellow percussionist senior Raymond Morris also plays the bass clarinet during concert season. He’s also senior class treasurer, is a member of the BETA Club, participates in track and cross-country and serves the band as chaplain.
“I offer the prayer before major band events and performances and am somewhat of a counselor to my fellow band students,” he explained.
He describes band as a family. “We share our passion for music together and can call on each other for anything,” he said.
He plans on becoming a surgical technician with training from UT-Arlington in the fall. He names band and athletics as his two favorite classes. Though obviously a serious young man, his favorite percussive instrument is the cymbals. “I love the way it blows my hair up when I bang them together.”
Rhyan Pennington plays the flute and the French horn. She had a supporting role in the school’s theater production of “Footloose” and enjoys her church activities, as well as participating in the BETA Club.
Ready to finish her high school career and begin higher education, Pennington has combined her junior and senior year into one.
She sees herself owning her own music store one day, while raising a family that includes lots of sensible kids, who “shine as lights in this pitiful world.”
She feels band has enriched her life and has noticed a real difference between those who have had music education and those who have not.
She also credits her band experience with teaching her self-discipline and common sense and finds she easily applies these lessons to other areas of her life.
Recently, Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs announced a groundbreaking study on school finance related to student achievement.
Perhaps, she would have done better to include the quality of a school district’s music education program. Many studies have shown that students who study music, especially band, exhibit greater achievement in math and reading on standardized tests.
A 2004 study of college-bound seniors found that those who study music score better than the average student in both the verbal and math sections of the SAT. Music students averaged 536 for verbal and 533 for math, while the overall average was 508 for verbal and 518 for math.






Copyright 2011, MediaOne, L.L.C.