About Southside Bands

"With Tradition Unsurpassed" and "Play Like a Champion Today"

The slogans "With Tradition Unsurpassed" and "Play like a champion today" describe the Southside Band Program in both its past accomplishments and present endeavors. The 180 students of the Maverick Band share a bond with all past band members in living up to this tradition of outstanding performance and character in all areas of the band program. The band members strive for excellence in several performing groups: the Maverick Marching Band, three Concert bands, and the Jazz Band. In addition, numerous ensembles (percussion, brass, woodwind, etc.) perform throughout the year.

The Southside Bands are known across the state and region for producing outstanding individual musicians as well as exceptional performances by the marching band and all three concert bands. Since Southside opened its doors in 1963, the band has had over 3100 positions in the all-region bands, 256 in the all-region jazz bands, 1008 seats in the All-State Concert Bands, and 83 in the All-State Jazz Bands. The bands have also earned the ASBOA Sweepstakes Award for thirty consecutive years of having earned first division honors in marching, concert, and sight-reading adjudications.

The Southside Band and their directors have earned many honors over the years

  • 2014-2015 National Band Association National Blue Ribbon Band of the Year
  • 2014-2015 National Band Association National Citation of Excellence
  • 2015 ASBOA AAAAA Honor Ensemble
  • Performed at the 2014 ARKMEA Conference in Hot Springs
  • Performed as a Featured Band at the 2017 National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis
  • Stan Cate, Richard Peer, Steve Kesner, Leighnora Buchanan, Audra Cowan, Duane Walker, and John Combs were selected as Arkansas Bandmasters of the Year
  • Stan Cate, Richard Peer, Audra Cowan, and Prissy Buchanan were inducted into the Arkansas Bandmasters Hall of Fame
  • The Southside Band set a state record with 147 all-region band members in 2016
  • The Southside Band set a state record with 49 all-state band members in 2011
  • Southside has led the region and state in all-region/state musicians for the last 17 years
  • John Combs, Michael Westbrook, Jennifer Steele, Josh Ray, and Sean Carrier were selected as Young Band Directors of the Year
  • Performed at the 1969 ASBDA National Convention
  • Twice named one of the Top Schools in the United States for Music Education
  • Performed at the 2019 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic

The Southside Band has traveled many places and been goodwill ambassadors for Southside and Fort Smith. The Band has performed in Hawaii, New York, Chicago, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Washington DC, Orlando, Kansas City, St. Louis, Houston, Nashville, Hot Springs, and Gatlinburg.