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Dixie Gray Band: How it Got its Name By Catalina Arnold
27 September 2018-- Many people have asked, why the Dixie Gray Band does not have a name like the sports in the school, they wonder why the band has a name that seems to have nothing to do with bulldogs, the school mascot? The long ago story of Mexico Missouri will give the answer to this question in a way that is well understood to not only the adults of the community but also to the students, or anyone who cares for the small town of Mexico Missouri. Mr. Yancey, the current Band Director of the Dixie Gray Band, tells the story of the beginning in order to get the answer. “Mr. John Willer was the Band Director at the time” (1951) “The name comes from this area of Missouri being affectingly known as Little Dixie. A long time ago it was known as that because or Southern Sympathies during the Civil War…” Mr. Yancey continues the story with how this small town has took the name Little Dixie and turned it into a name that means something to them not just the band, but also the town. “Now it is just an affectionate name, like we have the Little Dixie Fire Department, and the Little Dixie Wildlife Refuge near Columbia. That’s where the name came from and it has stuck to this town ever since.” For a full understanding let's think this through, this small town, the town where so many students say, “as soon as I graduate I’m leaving!” this small town has meaning, a name gives us meaning. The fire department, the Wildlife Refuge, even a High school Marching band was named after the area because these three things give us hope for the future! Another question that not only have the band kids asked but also the people around them is what is the purpose of the band during homecoming week? Mr. Yancey was also there to shed a light on the subject, “It’s a school spirit thing, a lot of schools have their bands march through the halls as well as ours. This is just to get the students ready for the assembly that’s coming up after we get them all excited about it if they are not already. We are celebrating a lot of different groups during homecoming, not just football, certainly football is kinda the focus but a lot of other sports have homecoming events going on. Cheerleaders are also a BIG help in getting everyone pumped up.” In his own words he describes how the Dixie Gray Band has an impact on Homecoming, “We just add flavor onto everything great that’s already happening, we have different sports doing what they do and playing hard, all of the athletes. We have the Cheerleaders who get the crowd into the game.” After explaining the impact of other groups he moves to the Band, and their part of Homecoming, “Part of what the band does is adding into that, some of it is a historical in nature through some of the music we play, so when people come back for homecoming. That’s what homecoming is for people to come back and visit friends and family, if they moved away, just so they can maybe remember what homecoming was like in their time. The band tries to play songs from other times if possible to give those who have come back the flavor home.” Just a recap, the band plays a HUGE part in Homecoming week, it gets not only the students but the community ready for the Football game, that no doubt the whole town will be sitting in the bleachers cheering on the Bulldogs.