For over fifty years, Central High School bands have been a vital part of the community, education, and life-long musical enjoyment of the Hart Family. Three generations of Hart family drum majors were recognized on the field at the first quarter break in the home varsity football game versus Enterprise. September 18, 2020, was Senior Night. Allison Hart, Class of 2021 is the drum major of the Red Devil Regiment from the time she was a junior. The game announcer stated, “Tonight, we celebrate this singular marching band legacy with three generations of drum majors on the field: Hart to Hart to Hart for Central High School.”
Parents Cary Hart and Kristyn Cavallaro Hart Pace were co-drum majors in 1991-92 and are graduates of CHS. Kristyn is currently the Treasurer of the Band Boosters. Grandfather Ron Hart, Class of 1968, was drum major for three seasons. Allison’s adopted father is Steve Pace, a life-long musician, Band Booster Vice-President and Minister of Music at Summerville Baptist Church in Phenix City. He and Kristyn escorted Allison during the half-time presentations.
Allison is the only third generation drum major in the history of Central High School. She remarked, “It’s nice to share this legacy with my mother and grandfather and to get to celebrate it together on the field where we all marched.” Phenix City School Superintendent Randy Wilkes commented on the unique significance of this legacy. “Phenix City Schools is honored to acknowledge the Hart family for sharing their gifts and talents in leading the Central High School Red Devil Regiment. Their impact, like that of fine arts, extends well beyond the marching field.”
Steve Pace reflected on some common threads in the Hart family fabric. “In each their own way, they recognized that becoming a good musician and a leader is more about exploring opportunities and working hard at being your best. Almost anyone can benefit from learning to play. But, the sooner a student explores the arts, the more likely they are to progress.” The Harts all began their love of music in their church. Ron Hart began singing in children’s choir under Pansy Slocumb at Westside Baptist Church. Allison and Cary also began singing in church children’s choirs. Allison is now a preschool choir co-leader with recent Drum Major Sophie Orsini at Summerville Baptist Church. “Church and school choirs are a great way for children to explore their talents and prepare for future opportunities like sixth grade band, the Central High School Red Devil Regiment, and adult community bands,” commented Larry Wells, CHS Director of Bands.
Another common foundation to the Hart family music legacy is that each of them began piano lessons at age six or seven. That is how they learned to read and hear more than one line of music. Allison and her mother, Kristyn Pace, both took lessons from Sandra Kinsaul, former pianist at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Kristyn Pace has been the pianist at Summerville Baptist Church for fifteen years. Allison plays the keyboard for the Youth Praise Band and on special occasions. However, their band instruments were different.
Allison also plays her flute in church and in the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus. Her other activities include Beta Club and Backpack Buddies, which serves elementary students with Feeding the Valley Food Bank.
Ron Hart was drum major for three years. His twin, Don Hart, led the band for one day, substituting for his brother to lead a parade. Ron Hart studied music education at Troy University where he received a degree in 1972 and a post-graduate degree in 1976.
He was a band director and school administrator for almost twenty years, including over four years in Phenix City schools.
Until his recent retirement, Hart continued his music career in the music instrument supply and repair business. He commented that, “seeing and hearing students learn and excel were the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Not everyone will be a professional musician, but anyone can be a musician for the rest of their lives by participating in their school band program. It is especially rewarding to have a three-generation legacy of four Drum Majors in the family: me, Cary, Kristyn and Allison.”
Kristyn Pace earned a degree in Finance at Auburn University and is employed in Phenix City Schools.
“Red Devil Regiment has been a vital part of my entire life since beginning band in the sixth grade. The band was and is an important part of my community. The fun, challenges, learning, shows, competitions, bus trips and parades where wonderful experiences for me that built relationships that I will never forget and some that continue even to today. I will be forever grateful for those years and these days with Allison,” she said. “I hope that we can gather some of our old friends together next year. Maybe some other alumni, former Drum Majors and Band officers will join us in celebrating our band and doing something special for the future of our Red Devil Regiment.”
Steve Pace commented on the legacy of music in the community.
“Music education in our schools and churches is invaluable in building young minds and developing leaders in every area of life.
Many books and articles document that future business and government leadership will need to be creative problem-solvers who can integrate right and left- brain skills in the way that playing music disciplines our minds,” he said.
“I suppose that is what scriptures intended when the children were instructed to learn, sing and play skillfully. Music helps us to build well-rounded people and communities. Looking forward, the unprecedented health and economic events of 2020 will present significant challenges.
I am grateful for the commitment and support of our Board of Education. Bands and Fine Arts programs across our country will need exceptional commitment from students and parents in addition to particular support from their communities.
The discipline of singing and playing together is a great example of how we can all work together for the greater good. That was the same spirit expressed by the Editor of this paper in a recent opinion article. Art collaboration has broad benefits including ‘the capacity of people to act together on matters of common interest’ (to make a positive difference) in the health and well-being of individuals and neighborhoods.”
“School band does that in real time. Our hope is that the legacy of Hart to Hart to Hart will help encourage that grand tradition here,” said Steven Pace.
Band Boosters plan a 2021 campaign to reconnect with former band members, officers and parents through social media and email: HarttoHart3@mypcboe.net.