Anniversary Celebration of Movie, Band is Set

Thursday, September 8, 2016
Copies of this commemorative postcard, which depicts the depot scene from the movie, are just one of the items being sold to generate funds for the Mohawk band program at this weekend's "A Face in the Crowd" anniversary.(courtesy image)

This weekend a special two-day anniversary celebration will be held to mark the 60th anniversary of the filming of A Face in the Crowd and the upcoming 70th anniversary of the formation of the PHS band. The observances are set for this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 and 10, hosted by the Piggott Heritage Group, and the Piggott High School Mohawk Band. Special activities and events are planned, including a re-enactment of the football field scene from the iconic movie. Proceeds will benefit the band program at PHS, and will be used to help purchase new instruments and support the members during trips to competitions.

A Mohawk band alumni tail gate party will kick-off the events at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, in the high school band room. All former band members are urged to attend. During the halftime festivities of the contest with Portageville that evening the majorettes who appeared in the 1957 movie will be introduced. There will also be an opportunity to purchase an assortment of memorabilia associated with the movie. Tickets will also be on sale for the banquet, set for Saturday evening.

At halftime the band, and flag corps, are also scheduled to re-enact the football field scene from the movie, and accompany the baton compeition with "Mama Guitar."

A citywide open house is set for 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, as the organizers host a community tour of filming sites across the city. Locations include the depot building, Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum, Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and the Piggott square. At each stop there will also be the opportunity to purchase memorabilia, and banquet tickets.

At 1 p.m. the Piggott Chamber of Commerce will host an open house at the depot, which will include dedication of the new artwork. The band will also be performing. The next dedication is set for 2 p.m. as an open house is held at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum, site of the famous swimming pool scene. Artwork will also be dedicated at that location.

An open house will be held beginning at 3 p.m. at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum as well.

A driving tour of filming sites has also been developed, with special signs marking the various locations. A tour guide brochure may be obtained which includes each location and a brief description. Blue signs with the A Face in the Crowd logo mark the sites.

At 4 p.m. the band will be performing in concert on the court square, and will be appearing at the band stand.

The band will also be performing as they'll be hosting the banquet set for 6 to 8 p.m. at the community center. During the celebration the upcoming 70th anniversary of the formation of the band program will be marked, along with the 60th anniversary of the filming of the movie in Piggott.

Organizers note there will be food, entertainment from the Swingin' Mohawk Jazz Band, a silent auction and several guest speakers. Tickets to the banquet are $20 each, and may be purchased from any Mohawk band member, or at Gregory Insurance in Piggott. The band is also conducting a used instrument drive throughout the weekend, and will be accepting donations.

A number of original items related to the movie have been donated, including a 1957 promotional 45 record; three of the original lobby cards from the 1957 release of the movie; framed sheet music of "Mama Guitar" from 1957; an original one-sheet movie poster of "A Face in the Crowd" from the year it was released; original Warner Brothers photos taken during the filming of the movie and an original soundtrack album of the movie, still factory sealed.

At 9 p.m. the movie will be screened in the back room of the community center.

The event is being held as a fundraiser for the Piggott band program, which boasts just over 125 students in grades seven through 12. This year the band, which is under the direction of Jeremy Wortham, also has two beginning band classes in seventh grade, a concert band class for grades eight through 11 and a wind ensemble class for grades nine through 12.

The Marching Mohawk band has 62 students who'll be participating this fall in marching competition. This season the Mohawks will transport the crowd into the life of a pirate, as they present "A Pirates Revenge."

The marching band will be performing at all of the home football games this year, along with the away games at both Rivercrest and Walnut Ridge. They also have a full slate of marching competitions lined-up, including--the U.S. Bands Arlington, Tenn., Invitational on Sept. 24; Gibson County Marching Invitational in Dyer, Tenn., on Oct. 1; Paragould/McDonalds Marching Invitational on Oct. 8; Forrest City Marching Invitational on Oct. 15; Region V Marching Assessment at Paragould High School on Oct. 18; Bandmasters Marching Contest, Liberty Stadium in Memphis, on Oct. 22; Choctaw Classic, at Dyer County High School, Newborn, Tenn., on Oct. 29 and the First Annual Arkansas State Marching Contest in Little Rock, hosted by North Little Rock High School, on Nov. 1.

The Swingin' Mohawk Jazz Band will also be performing several times during the year, and the War Party Pep Band will be performing at many volleyball games, pep rallies and basketball games. The concert bands also have several performances scheduled throughout the year.

The funds generated by the event will help defray travel costs for the band, and allow them to purchase and maintain instruments. The band has also conducted other fundraisers, most recently a 5K color run, held Saturday, Aug. 27.

More information on the upcoming event is available by contacting Wortham at PHS at 870 598-3815 or by visiting the celebration's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/60afitc/?fref=ts Those wanting to stay up to date on the activities of the Mohawk band may visit their page at www.facebook.com/piggottmohawkband

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