LSU band director Roy King will march with wife, daughter when alumni band takes field
Ladies and gentlemen, we yield the floor to Roy King.
“And I would like to say that Olivia considers it an honor to be marching with her mother and father,” he said.
He smiles. Olivia King does a slight eye roll before shooting him a “get real” glance.
She’s Roy King’s daughter, and she’s a first-year member of the LSU Tiger Marching Band’s Colorguard. Her dad is director of the band, as well as a former member.
Mom Monya King also is a former band member, having headed the Colorguard at the same time Roy King was the section leader of the drums. She was known as Monya Gordon in those days; she met her husband in the band.
They married, and in 1993, became parents to Olivia King.
“Monya and I came back in 1993 to participate in the band reunion,” Roy King said.
Things are different now. As a member of the Colorguard, Olivia King already will be on the field with the band. Her mom, meantime, participated in the Colorguard’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2011 and returns in 2012.
The only missing puzzle piece would have been Roy King who usually would be directing the band at halftime.
“But Frank will be back for the reunion, so the band will be in good hands,” Roy King said.
He speaks of Frank Wickes, who retired in 2010 after 30 years as LSU’s director of bands.
So, Roy King will trade his baton for a set of drumsticks, which hasn’t been so easy.
“You really have to be in shape to play the drums,” Roy King said. “I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.”
He said this while sitting in his office in the Old Tiger Band Hall between game day rehearsal and the band’s step-off time for LSU’s game against the University of Idaho.
Monya King sat on the opposite side of his desk, as did Olivia, dressed in her Colorguard uniform.
Roy King later would lead the band to Tiger Stadium, but for the moment, he gathered with his family to talk about the big night when all three will stand on the football field.
It will mark the first time a director of the Tiger Band has relinquished his halftime duties to march with the alumni band. Then again, not every director has been an LSU alumnus.
Wickes was director for 30 years and was Roy King’s director when King was a member of the drum section from 1979 to 1983.
Roy King earned both his bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in wind conducting from LSU. Wickes hired Roy King as assistant band director in 1998, and King was named director after associate director Linda Moorhouse accepted a position as a visiting professor at the University of Illinois after Wickes’ retirement.
And through the years, Olivia King spent her football seasons sitting behind the LSU Colorguard. She learned all of the dances they performed in the stands, and she performed with them.
Well, no one could see her performing. Colorguard members stand up when the band plays, so no one could see the little girl imitating their moves.
Now the little girl is one of 32 who wear the Colorguard’s velvet uniforms.
“Olivia worked hard to make the Colorguard,” Roy King said. “And it’s important to her that everyone knows that she didn’t receive special treatment. She even made the Colorguard’s first line in the pre-game show. This is something she worked hard to achieve, and she continues to work hard to prove that she is worthy of membership.”
Not that Olivia King didn’t receive a little parental advice along the way. Prospective Colorguard members are required to develop an original routine for auditions.
Now, Olivia King also is a trumpet player, having played in the band at St. Michael the Archangel High School.
“But I’m a better Colorguard member than I am a trumpet player,” she said.
Besides, she was already a Colorguard fan. And mom once was the Colorguard captain.
So, she turned to mom for advice on the audition routine.
“Olivia came up with the audition,” Monya King said, “I just gave her some tips. But the routine was hers, and we’re proud of her work.”
So proud that mom and dad decided to join daughter on the field when former LSU Band members join current ones in marching halftime during LSU’s game against Towson University on Saturday. The halftime show is the highlight of the annual LSU Tiger Band Reunion weekend.
“We have between 225 and 250 people who have signed up so far,” Roy King said.
That was as of Sept. 15. More may have signed up since then.
“I’ll go change out of my director’s clothes and into my reunion clothes before halftime,” Roy King said. “I’ll change back into my director’s clothes afterward.”
And for the duration of a halftime show, the Kings all will be band members together for the first time.
Just band members.
So, how does Olivia King really feel about this? She laughs. Yeah, dad spoke up for her earlier, and though she’s still getting used to having to be around him every day at school, she’s having fun.
And the idea of marching with her parents is special.
“I’m definitely excited,” she said.
Which says it all.