Clarendon School District 2 Board Member Robert “Bobby” Fleming was the guest speaker at Manning High and Manning Junior High School’s Band Awards Banquet held on May 18 at MHS.
Fleming was a member of the band in his high school days and gave a speech on the importance of never giving up.
Fleming played the trombone for the Golden Pride Marching Band and said that he was so bad at it that he was placed last among the musicians in that category during performances and competitions. However, that did not discourage him as he was determined to do his very best to get better. He would go to practice everyday even though it was not something that came to him easily.
“I always enjoyed practice, because I figured if I kept practicing then one day I’d get better,” he said to the more than 100 students gathered at the event. “Put forward your best effort and you will never fail.”
Fleming said that it was a privilege for him to have been an alumni member of the band. The band played at President Barack Obama’s campaign stop in Manning in 2008, and was the only band from South Carolina to be invited to his inauguration in January 2009.
Fleming encouraged band members to be respectful to adults. But most importantly, he said, was never to give up on anything that they do.
“No one ever gave me a chance but I never gave up,” he said. “It may be difficult but it’s not any more difficult than what you’ve gone through already. Always strive to do your best.”
Drum Major Marcus Wilson gave the welcome and band member Dondre Joyner performed two special selections as did former Manning High student Karen Hilton. Band member Devin Blackwell played the national anthem on the soprano saxophone. Awards were given to both Manning High and Manning Junior High Bands.