Player coming home to THS
by David Atchison
TALLADEGA — The Pell City High School band director is picking up his trombone and marching home to Talladega.

“I’m going back home to rebuild the program,” said Duane Player, who recently took the band directing job in his hometown.

Player graduated from Talladega High School in 1990.

Now, after directing the Marching Band of Gold for the past seven years, he will direct the Talladega High School Marching Band.

“I prayed about it,” Player said Friday. “This is what I was led to do.”

Player said he was officially hired by the Talladega City Board of Education at its April 9 meeting. The Pell City Board of Education officially accepted Player’s resignation at last Tuesday’s meeting.

“The only reason is I’m leaving to go home,” he said.

Player’s last day as the Panther’s band director is May 31.

He said the former Talladega High School band director called him and said he was leaving and asked him if he knew of anyone who might be interested in the Talladega High School job.

A few days later, the principal called and asked him if he would consider taking the job. The rest is history.

Player can recall the time he was the trombone section leader for the Talladega High School band, now he will lead the band he was once a member of — so it’s special to him.

“I grew up in Talladega,” he said.

Player is also an associate pastor at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church in Talladega.

Since entering the teaching profession, he has helped high school bands move forward and get better.

“IÕ’e been rebuilding programs since I have been teaching,” Player said. “So this is my next assignment.”

Player, 41, earned his undergraduate degree from Alabama A&M University, and his graduate degree from Alabama State University. Both degrees are in Instrumental Music Education.

He began his teaching career at Greensboro East High School as the director of bands. He spent four years, from 2000-2004, as an assistant director of bands at George W. Carver High School and Kirby Middle School in Birmingham. From there he went to Tarrant city schools as a director of bands, before coming to Pell City.

Player said he is leaving the Pell City Marching Band of Gold in good shape.

“Things seem to be going on the right track,” he said.

Player said he looks forward to the challenge that lies ahead at Talladega.

“I hope to improve the growth and quality of the program,” he said. “I want to build it up and make it healthy again.”

© 2013