By Aajene Robinson
November 2, 2023
SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Oak Mountain High School dedicated their new band room to former director Jim Duren who died in 2020 due to COVID-19 complications.
The new performing arts facility is exclusive to Oak Mountain’s band and choir programs after outgrowing their old space.
Everything is brand new providing both programs with more than enough space to rehearse, but also house their uniforms, equipment, and instruments.
As more and more students joined Oak Mountain’s performing arts programs, the need for more space became a top priority for school leaders.
“Previously in our old room it was impossible to fit the whole marching band in the building, but we don’t have that problem anymore,” said Dr. Travis Bender, the Fine Arts Department Chair.
Dr. Bender said former band director Jim Duren left a lasting impact and they wanted to do something that would honor his legacy.
“We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to honor his memory than dedicating this new room to him and you’ll see that right outside as you enter the band room, his name is there so that we can honor his memory,” Dr. Bender said.
This new space also helps to better prepare for performances on the field without having to leave the building.
“Our visual ensemble, which is our color guard, majorettes, and our dance team,” Dr. Bender said, “This new facility has a 30-foot ceiling so now they have plenty of space to do indoor work and they can toss things and not worry about hitting the ceiling.”
Inside the band room are two balconies at the front of the room allowing their entire teaching staff to look at the band from a bird’s eye perspective, which is crucial when creating their performances.
Dr. Bender said they have been in the new facility for less than a week, but are excited to open it up to the public Thursday night.