It all started in July of 1972 when the Marching Raiders met for the first time. The four high schools in Richmond County had recently merged together, and the Marching Raiders became the first organization that was formed at the new school. On August 23rd 1972, the band met for their very first regular season practice. These practices were to finish preparing for the 1972 football/contest season. However, on Sept. 1, the band performed for the first time at Richmond Senior's very first football game against Cheraw, SC. Unfortunately, they were out of uniform because some of the uniforms had not been delivered. The uniforms were delivered during the next week, and the band donned the uniforms throughout the rest of the season. The band also had another small problem. The band room had not been constructed at the time, so during the school day, the band was forced to meet in the library. The Marching Raiders were under the direction of David Doolittle. David was the Rockingham High director for four years before directing at Richmond. He came to Rockingham from Christianburg, VA.
At halftime, the band came onto the field spreading from sideline to sideline. They opened their show with the broadway hit "What Kind of Fool Am I". After the first minute of their ten minute performance, the crowd had usually already started applausing. By the end of the peformance the entire crowd was on their feet.
November 11, 1972 was perhaps the biggest day in Marching Raider history. The Raiders went to Cary, NC to compete in their fourteenth annual band day competition. That morning, the Marching Raiders marched in a parade in down-town Cary. Then they went to the competetion where they placed third in Division 1. This was the first award ever won by the Richmond Senior High Marching Band. They were only 6 tenths of a point behind East Rutherford who, at the time, was number 2 in the nation. The Marching Raiders did rank higher than the previous Cary winner: Princess Anne High School from Virginia. A large number of people from Richmond County attended the contest to support the Marching Raiders. The trip was expensive, but with the help of the band boosters, the County Commissioners, and others in the community, the band was able to go.
On November 18, 1972, the band attended the Holiday Festival in Hamlet, NC. The band marched in the parade down Main Street playing for the large crowd that attended every year. The Hamlet Holiday Parade was nothing compared to the parade they marched in the following spring.
Probably the most memorable event for the 72 Marching Raiders happened in the following year. In the Spring of 1973, the band took a four day trip to Florida. They were invited to perform at Disney World. The large theme park had just opened in 1972 and was only a few months old at the time. The Raiders marched in one of the very first Disney parades ever, and then gathered in front of Cinderella's Castle where they perfomed for a crowd of thousands. After that, the band went sightseeing for a couple of days and ended up in Titusville, where they took a tour of the Kennedy Space Center Museum.
If you have any more information on the 1972 Marching Raiders or any other Marching Raider season, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org