Story originally ran in the Houma Times.
The Pride of South Lafourche High School Marching Tarpon Band is phenomenal — year after year earning honors as among the top bands in the state of Louisiana.
Most recently, they performed at Central Lafourche’s 2019 Fete de Musique and swept the awards for their division, including winning the title of 2019 Grand Champion.
Surely, to have that much success, talented musicians are needed, and the Tarpons are blessed with a bunch of those.
But a talented, skilled band director who knows how to reach out to children and motivate them to do their best is also needed.
Meet Randy Chiasson.
Chiasson has been the Tarpons’ band director for several years — in his time with the school, he’s helped taken the group to new heights.
Through building a culture, the Tarpon musicians have pride, have attention to detail and more importantly, they have fun.
“We’re working hard,” Chiasson said during a radio interview about this year’s group. “The kids have put in so much time, and they’ve been so dedicated. We couldn’t be prouder of them and what they’ve accomplished.”
Chiasson mentioned that diligence of his group.
We saw that first hand earlier this year.
Before school even started, South Lafourche was busy working on its 2019 Field Show.
It was brutally hot outside.
On the field turf, it was even warmer — about 20 degrees hotter than the 90-plus degree heat.
The Tarpons worked and showed off pieces of their show to an eager audience.
Some of it was good, some of it was bad.
But no matter what, Chiasson stayed positive and upbeat for his kids.
“That was great,” Chiasson said through a megaphone at the end of one piece of the rehearsal.
When it was over, the crowd applauded — the unofficial start of the season for the group.
As fans departed, Chiasson got on his megaphone again.
“I love you guys so much,” he said. “That was great. I’m so proud.”
That love and support are what powers the Tarpons’ band room, and it’s a large piece of why they’ve had so much success.
The group works hard, yes, but in the band room, the students are able to express themselves and be the truest versions of themselves without judgment or ridicule.
Chiasson coaches his kids hard, and he expects them to strive to be the best that they can be. But he also jokes with his pupils and loves on them — showing them that excellence is possible, while also still having a culture of love and fun.
Before state a few years ago, Chiasson made a group with his team that if they performed high enough, students would get to shave his trademark scruffy beard.
They did, and the beard went away. It’s now back, but Chiasson joked that he isn’t making the same wager again.
The Tarpons competed at a Biloxi showcase earlier this year and had technical issues. They fixed those issues before competing at Central Lafourche and securing the sweep.
The team has several more showcases in the coming weeks leading up to state.
The Tarpons’ 2019 show is based on a life during nuclear war. The music is deep and spot-on. There’s acting, choreography, dancing and twists and turns. It keeps fans on the edge of their seat throughout the duration.
“The kids just keep getting better and better,” Chiasson said. “We couldn’t be any more proud.”
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