The Ashley Ridge High School was founded in 2008 when a new high school was needed in Summerville, South Carolina, due to the over population of the two adjacent high schools in town. The Ashley Ridge High School Band was formed under the direction of Sue Alexander. Sue was a veteran teacher that previously taught as Director of Bands at Travelers Rest High School, Riverside High School and Associate Director of Bands at Summerville High School.
In 2007, she was asked by Dorchester School District Two to utilize her great experience and start a band from scratch at the new high school. In 2008, the newly formed high school band entered the 2A South Carolina classification but did not field a competitive marching band. Instead, a small pep band was created that excited the football crowd with horn playing and trash can banging. The focus was on building community and spirit within the new high school. It of course was a magical time and a huge success!
In 2009, the school fielded their first competitive marching band and presented a fun Halloween themed production. In this first year of competition, the band fielded 53 total students and made state finals in the 2A division. This was also the year where winter percussion and winter guard were added to the list of band performance ensembles. In their first year of competition, these two groups won the SCBDA (South Carolina Band Directors Association) state indoor championship. In 2010, Sue Alexander retired from teaching and handed the reigns over to Joshua V. Hinkel.
In 2010, the marching band grew to 85 members, 101 in 2011, 125 in 2012 and close to 160 today. The total program has nearly 200 students. Between the years of 2009-2012, a jazz band, world music program and junior varsity winter guard have been added to the list of performance ensembles, all of which, thrill audiences annually at school and community events. In the past few years, Ashley Ridge High School has also grown from 900 to nearly 2200 total students. Due to this large number of students, the marching band is now classified in the 5A division (also known as Big 16).
In 2014, we welcome Chad Pence as the Director of Bands for Ashley Ridge High School. We look forward to continued growth under Mr. Pence and his staff’s direction. What will happen next? Only time will tell…
It’s a good day to be a Swamp Fox.