‘We’re the Pam Pack’

Published 1:12 pm Monday, July 2, 2018

While growing up and in high school, every boy did not play football. We were very fortunate to have one of the best high school marching bands in our state. In fact, they represented North Carolina in the inaugural parade for President John F. Kennedy.

The Pam Pack marching band filled the air on a Friday night at Kugler Field like no other band could. Our band played at home games and traveled to all away games in their flat-nosed buses with the name on the side of the buses. Under the leadership of band director Jimmy Larkin, who settled for nothing but the best, our band had everything it needed.

It seemed as though they were 300 strong, but probably more like 150 members, not counting the always-pretty majorettes. They marched in every Christmas parade Washington had, as well as in other towns. Their concerts at Christmas and in the spring would fill our auditorium.

Bands from other schools always copied our band. This was tribute enough to their statewide reputation. Every time the Pam Pack scored you could hear “Oh, We’re the Pam Pack” and sung by all in attendance. Every student knew the words and would stand as they sang their fight song by heart. We grew up knowing the words and did not just learn them in high school. Mr. Larkin is also responsible for many who have a love for music.

One of our most popular musicians, Craig Woolard, of The Embers, grew up in a time when the band provided the atmosphere for Friday night football games. Others like Burl Clark, Robbie Walker and Gary Jones would form their own bands that played at parties in and around town. Many owe their love for music to Mr. Larkin.

Once, when we were playing at the University of Richmond and we were leaving the field after pre-game warm-ups, the Richmond band cranked up “We’re the Pam Pack.” Immediately, I turned my head to look and there he was, Jimmy Larkin, their band director. He was smiling from ear to ear with that big smile he was known for and just tipped his hat to acknowledge our special song. We were the only two in City Stadium, in Richmond, who knew the words to that song.

His bands played music that if the walls still surrounded Kugler Field they would hold some of the best music and memories we all share today. The band was as much a part of Friday nights as our football teams were. Thank you, Mr. Larkin, and all who played in the Pam Pack marching band for all you did to make those nights memorable! You were the best!

The best of times, with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, NC!

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.