Mr. Vincent's Vision
story by Brittany Sowacke
Timpani drums and xylophones, arranged in zig-zag fashion, await the pulsing rhythms of the final periods of the day in the music practice room at Henderson County High School.
Behind a music-sheet littered desk and surrounded by dark wood-crafted awards, sits Keith Vincent, band director for The Colonel's Brigade and Marching Band. His thinning hair and eyesight sharpened with help from glasses belie his strong, clear vision.
Music became Keith's first love at age 8.
"There isn't a time in my life that I can remember not being able to play," he says.
His passion earned him a degree in classical guitar from Western Kentucky University in 1976 and soon after, he applied for the band director position at Owensboro Catholic School.
"I was hired on a Friday, started band camp on Sunday and didn't know the first thing about it," Keith says. "It took me 13 years to reach my goal — to get to this position. And it's just home for me. If I had to teach anything else, I don't think I could."
Unlike the patient brass and woodwinds, the reverb in his chest never subsides.
Music may be his first love, but education is a close second.
"I may teach band, but it's really the kids I'm teaching." he says. "The real life things you can teach them now really will stick with them. The band is just the medium for the message."
The message this year is improvement.
At 56 years-old, Keith is as quick as the time-keeping snare drums. His voice trumpets through the field, audible even above full forte.
"We didn't have a very successful time last year," Keith says, rubbing the top of his head. "Maybe I didn't pick the right (routine)."
During the 2012 competition season, Keith and the band do not want to repeat history.
"It's the best year so far," says Morgan Bradly, 16, a drum major. "Everyone's really into it because he picked a really fun routine."
This year's show, "Circus of Dreams," offers collaboration between the students, parents and county band teachers. More than 126 hours have been logged in practice since mid-summer, and with the season's end approaching quickly, the team shows steadfast determination.
After the last school-day practice before regional competition, the band hosted a Halloween party. The cheerful event came filled with congratulatory reminiscing about the year and hopeful remarks about the future.
Just before the party's end, Keith took to the microphone, thanking the students for their dedication.
"There's not a band out there that has more heart," he says, a comment met with shouts of agreement and yells of "pride," the band motto.
"This is unlike any other organization," Keith says. "This is really what it's all about."