How it All Began
The Russellville Band program came into existence in the fall of 1931 under the direction of musician Art Little. Although it was not the first school band in Russellville, it did mark the beginning of a long tradition of excellence. After two months on the job, Mr. Little resigned to pursue a career in the military. With the help of Jack Floyd, Walston Hester, and the local Lions club, the band would search for a new director. The first rehearsal was held in the main courtroom of the old Franklin County courthouse.
“The Marching Hundred is born”
Mr. Little was soon replaced by Hollis Abrahams (pictured here), a beloved musician who enjoyed a very successful thirteen year career from 1944-1957 as band director. During the early years, he began molding and shaping the band program and soon was taking students all over the united States to compete and make special bowl game appearances. The band program, as we know it today, truly began with his vision. It was under his direction that the band adopted the familiar name the “Marching Hundred”. Mr. Abrahams is fondly remembered by many of the local residents. His legacy of excellence continues to this day.
With the departure of Abrahams in 1957, Curtis Ikard was hired as Russellville’s third band director. He took over the reigns and stayed on board for an unprecedented thirty-three years until his departure in 1986. This is one of the longest tenures ever held at one school by an Alabama band director. Thousands of students have enjoyed participation in the band program under his direction. Bowl appearances, national parades, and regional competitions were attended with great success. Mr. Ikard was responsible for the development of the Russellville Band Parents organization, an impressive band support group that continues to serve the band today. Many of today’s band parents once sat under Ikard’s direction. He is best remembered for his strict discipline and a unique style of dress.
The Tradition Continues
In 1987, George Crummie came onboard to fill the vacancy when Ikard retired. Replacing Ikard would prove to be a daunting task, but with the support of the community and students, the torch was passed, and Mr. Crummie (25 years old) would point the band in a new and exciting direction. He served for three years before leaving to accept a teaching position at Northwest Community College. During his five year absence, brief teaching stints by directors Rick Whitmire and Curtis Burttram would continue the growth and enthusiasm of the program, but Mr. Crummie would eventually return home to Russellville as band director in 1995. Under Burtram’s direction, the Marching Hundred made an appearance at the 1993 Fiesta Bowl in Tempe Arizona. With the addition of Associate Director Gary McNutt in 1992, all aspects of the instrumental music program have enjoyed enormous success, and have represented Russellville High School with performances across the United States of America. Mr. McNutt would take over the reigns in 2008 as the tradition that is the Marching Hundred continues. Following a very successful 8 year tenure at Russellville High School, in 2016 Gary McNutt stepped down and Mr. Jeremy Willis began as band director.