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J. Y. Bell

J. Y. Bell

Mr. Bell had a very famous marching band at William Penn High School before integration. T. Wingate Andrews High School was built in 1969 as the first integrated high school in NC. Mr. Bell was the first band director at T. Wingate Andrews H. S. from 1969 to 1980. He was remarkable for modifying the marching style of William Penn to include the white population from High Point Central as well as the African-American
population from William Penn (which they closed from 1969 until it opened again as Penn-Griffin about 10 years ago).

He was famous for having 250 people in his marching band, for arranging all of his own music (which was a big hit) and for having a very entertaining marching band in parades. The marching style was
highly choreographed and the cadences were very fast.
Horns were spinning and tubas leaned way over and back. The entire
band was choreographed while the drumline was playing.

Mr. Bell is considered to be one of the greatest examples of the success
of integration. Everyone wanted to be in his band. Everyone loved him
and everyone wanted to follow the Andrews Band down the street in a
parade. Integration was a huge success in his band.

Biographical information courtesy of Dr. Jane VanMiddlesworth,
Band Director at T. Wingate Andrews High School, 2013.

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