Blockhead Tradition Unites Band Students


Photo By Julianna Patterson

Finished blockheads cheerfully drying in the sun patiently waiting for their owners to pick them up.

By Julianna Patterson, Photographer

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  • Blockheads waiting to be fully assembled bright and early in the morning.

  • Jeromiah Patterson ’22 diligently drills in arms for the blockheads.

  • Finished blockheads cheerfully drying in the sun patiently waiting for their owners to pick them up.

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Over the past five weeks, volunteers have been working very hard to finish the blockheads, yard signs made for the band program specifically gifted to the freshman class and other new members.

Blockheads are just like your average yard sign, except they are small people. They have a body, arms, and a face. Blockheads have been a tradition since the current band directors attended the school. This is a great bonding experience by fellow band members..

On the first weekend, the Patterson family worked on the project. They gathered all of the necessary materials, which included four types of paint: primer, light gray, black, and peach. They also bought the wood that was needed to build the blockheads which would later be cut into the shapes needed.  

On the second weekend, there was not much turnout, but they still managed to get all 114  blockhead bodies primed and painted with the body and peach color.  On the third weekend, it was just the Pattersons. They had to cut all of the arms, shakos (hats), and chest plates. After everything was cut, the wood was sanded down so that there wouldn’t be any unpaintable spots, and it looked of higher quality. 

On the fourth weekend, they worked on the shakos and chest plates. They primed, painted, and touched up all of those, and then applied Mod Podge sealant to preserve the detail. After all of that dried, they started with assembling the arms. 

“It was very fun, and we were very safe with our fancy face masks,” Isabelle Hunt ‘23 said.

On the fifth and final weekend, there was a large turnout of volunteers. At the beginning of the day, participants who could use power tools drilled in the remainder of the arms, while the people who couldn’t handle tools worked on applying the Mod Podge. After that, when the fully assembled blockheads came in,(drilled in shakos, arms, and stapled chest plates), additional volunteers started the touch-up process. Once everything looked nice and there were no paint mistakes, they began to draw faces on with sharpies and write the names of the recipients on the blockheads. 

All five weeks have been an adventure. It was a celebrated victory for the first year of blockhead creation hosted by the Pattersons, especially during the uncertain times of COVID-19.Volunteers thought it was a fun and safe way to get out of the house.

“I really enjoyed being able to see people for the first time in a while and still be able to be safe,” Ajani Graham ‘21 said.

The band is looking forward to the upcoming season, despite the pandemic. They are expected to start drill for the oncoming season on Oct. 5th. All members choosing to attend rehearsal are ready to work just as hard as they would for a normal marching season, regardless of the  season starting months late.

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