Sound of Today thrives with new director

Parrish aims to grow the Sound of Today

The Sound of Today has started marching to the beat of a new drum, and that drum is Allen Parrish. 

After a rough couple of years, the Sound of Today needed someone to come in and turn things around. 

Students kept their passion despite their struggles, but they knew they were in desperate need of change. 

Parrish saw the need for a new start and had a vision. He decided to apply to ULM and met students that summer. After meeting students, he knew together they could do something big. 

“I could see that the students were driven to improve the program and wanted to work to be better,” Parrish said. 

Shortly after, he got the job as the Sound of Today’s athletic band director. 

However, it wasn’t as smooth as it seems.

When students first learned about Parrish and his background, they were a bit skeptical.

Parrish had only worked in small sections of band and never with a full band like the Sound of Today.

Many students wondered how he could direct a full band when most of his studies were in tuba performance. 

Parrish began his educational journey with a bachelor’s degree in music education from Troy University. He then got a master’s degree in tuba performance from Pittsburg State University. Finally, he received a doctorate in tuba performance and pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Despite previous concerns, Parrish has done nothing but impress students since band camp when he came in with a great attitude and a plan to succeed.  

Ever since he became the new athletic band director, students are trying harder than ever to do their best and exceed his expectations. 

Kallan Mulhearn, a biology major, admits that he does expect a lot from his students, but he holds himself to the same standard. 

“He has high expectations but he works just as hard as we do,” Mulhearn said.

He has connected with his students faster than anyone could have imagined. Now they are more than just a band, they are family. 

Jenny Smith, the Sound of Today flute section leader and junior vocal performance major, said Parrish does a great job at making students feel welcome and relaxed. 

“Dr. Parrish has already made advances towards making the band truly feel like a family, and getting everyone involved,” Smith said. “I have already seen people feeling more welcome and coming out of their comfort zones, which is something that we love to see.”

Parrish has many plans for the Sound of Today’s future. 

He plans to start by restoring the quality and size of the band during the 1980s.

According to Parrish, the Sound of Today currently has around 140 members, but he would like to build that number to over 200.

In order to do this he will travel to many schools in the area to speak with directors and students. 

The Sound of Today will have performances at two high schools—West Monroe High and Parkview High School.

However, his main goal for the future is to connect with the Sound of Today members while having a fun productive season.

“Dr. Parrish is quite clear with how he wants to proceed with the band, which is something very admirable to me and other students,”Smith said. “I can tell that the Sound of Today is going to have a fun and productive season.”