For a number of years the Allen Eagle Marching Band attended the Cotton Bowl "Parade of Champions" that was held yearly at the State Fair of Texas. Allen was a 3A school at that time, so the Band was very small. In the mid 70’s a larger group comprising the Band and The Allen Eagle Tallenettes performed together at parades and other events. Parents and community members who saw this larger group were so impressed with the idea the result that they lobbied the band director at that time, Charles Barton, and the School Board to get approval to combine these groups into one performing entity at AHS. The combined Band and Drill Team performed for some time before adopting the name Escadrille, which is a French word meaning "squadron."
Trophy Case Pictures
Old Escadrille Pictures (courtesy of Mrs. Charles Barton)
Like most things in Allen, the Allen Escadrille, the “Largest Marching Band in the Country” began from very small roots. The 1966-67 school year saw Mr. Jack Logan hired as the first band director for Allen. 36 students began their first venture playing instruments in the old wooden gym in the school where the First Baptist Church Sanctuary now sits. That same year saw the formation of the Tallenettes under the leadership and sponsorship of Mrs. Margie Marion. The Tallenettes, an off-shoot of the “Eaglettes,” a girls group that included 6 majorettes and 7 flag girls/drummers performed at the halftime of football games, continuing on into today.
Mr. Earl Haberkamp, Jr. became band director, now 26 member band, for the 1967-1968 school year.
The school year 1969-1970 was a transitional one for the band. Mr. Randy Bartlett was named band director and that year only 20 students were in the band. Mr. Bartlett was unswayed in his efforts and on September 25, 1970, through his leadership, the Allen Eagle Marching Band, 24 members strong made its marching debut at halftime of the Allen-Celina football game. For that first halftime performance, wearing white pants and blue letter sweaters, the band marched onto the field and formed an “A” and played their first on-field songs. For homecoming that year, the theme was “Love” and the band formed a heart and played the pop song “Love.” On October 19, 1970, the band played an outdoor concert on the Windjammer Stage at the State Fair of Texas and on December 5, 1970, they marched in their first Allen Christmas Parade. The band hosted the Tri-District solo and ensemble festival in Allen which was attended by eight other schools on January 30, 1971, and performed at the Castleberry Music Festival in Ft. Worth in April 1971. The band-hall was the old house across the street from the school and the acoustics were aided by the members stapling egg cartons to the walls and ceiling. This was also the year that the Allen Band Booster Club was formed.
Before the 1971-72 school year, Mr. Bartlett was drafted into the Army and a new director, Mr. Howard Robertson joined the 44 member Eagle Band. For the first time ever, the band played the music for the Tallenettes halftime performance. The band marched in the Allen, Celina and Sherman Christmas parades and was named “Best Band” in the Plano Christmas parade. The band also performed at the NTSU (now UNT) homecoming activities. The Grand Marshall for the NTSU parade was Miss America Phyllis George. The band also participated in the ETSU homecoming activities as well as the State Fair of Texas, culminating with a concert on the Mobil Stage. 1971 also saw the first foray of the band into UIL competition, earning a Division III.
December 31, 1971 was a proud day for the Allen Band. It joined 6 other high school bands (2 from Texas, 3 from Alabama and 1 from Indiana) participating in the pre-game activities at the 1971 Astro-bluebonnet bowl in the Astrodome in Houston playing a special rendition of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” penned by Bill Moffitt as a special tribute to George M. Cohen. One school bus and one small box truck transported the band and all its supplies to Houston. The trip was paid for by the newly formed Allen Band Boosters Association.
During the 1972-73 school year, the band continued its travels, joined by the Tallenettes with an appearance in the “Fiesta Flambeau” in San Antonio, the first out of metroplex performance of the Allen Escadrille. Other activities included again marching in the State Fair “Torchlight” parade and a concert appearance on stage 7. During these activities, the band proudly wore their first official uniforms. The band also participated in the Tri-State Music Festival in Enid, Oklahoma, this time requiring two buses.
1973-74 saw the band and Tallenettes marching in the Tyler Rose Festival, the State Fair parade and again at the San Antonio fiesta, this time marching and participating in concert competition as well as the Tri-State Music Festival, again in Enid, OK. The concert band also performed competitively at the UIL competition and received a Division II rating and the Stage Band was nominated for the best stage band in class A. The Stage Band also did a unique fundraiser that year, making the first album for sale to boosters.
In school year 1974-75, Mr. Charles Barton moved from Richardson ISD to become band director in Allen. That year saw the formation of the Allen Color Guard, a group of eight young ladies who performed each show with the band. Again, going to the Tri-State Music Festival, band members garnered 36 individual and group awards.