We have many times been asked the question, “What makes Emrald
Night so special?” Sometimes this question has been in words,
sometimes it has been in mannerisms and more often than not, it has
been derogatory. Yet the answer is the same simple truth that has guided
man’s success for thousands of years and will continue to guide
anyone who is willing to follow. This simple truth is this: if we are
willing to work hard and pay the price to do that which God has called
us to do; if we are willing to commit everything we do unto Him; if
we are willing to trust Him to lead us; then He will, and where he leads
is victory. If we are special, it is by His hand that we are so, all
that we have He has given us and all that we have become He has made
us. Our young people are special because they have seen what God can
do and I hope that as they live their lives they will remember.
Mr. McKinney came to us in 1978 after receiving both his BS and MA
degrees at the University of North Alabama at Florence and his teacher's
certification from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. Without doubt,
we have proof from our competition scores, he has developed one of
the finest music programs anywhere. Unlike other music departments,
Locust Fork's begins very early with primary grade students and continues
with intermediate and junior varsity music programs. The effectiveness
of early study becomes obvious with each group which is graduated
from junior varsity to varsity marching and concert band. Mr. McKinney's
personal dedication and devotion to each phase of musical education
is indeed obvious when observing the past years scoring and awards
the band has achieved. Along with teaching music, Mr. McKinney has
endeavored to teach something which can be taken through life with
each of his music students. This is, the ability to work as a team
with honor, dignity, mutual respect, and a singular dedication to
each task necessary to be performed. There are no small responsibilities
as members of a band, all are important as each member is important
to the success of each band performance. After band members graduate
this knowledge and appreciation of others and of self-worth will certainly
enhance each of their lives.
"You don't meet people like Mr. McKinney everyday and that's
a shame. He shows he cares in a way that most people have forgotten.
He pushes his students to do their best and reach their real potential.
He trys his best to teach his students self-dicipline and respect.
He has been an inspiration to me and my love for music. I know that
anyone else who has taken the time to talk to him would say the same."
"Mr. McKinney has an aura around him unlike most others. It's a sense of omnisence. Mr. McKinney knows so much and teaches us that. He teaches us what our best is --- our real best -- not just what we believe to be. He believes in us, and we in him. He pushes us to do great things, even with a small amount of people. He has an attitude of greatness that he passes on to each of us, and through the years we've learned how much hard work and effort truly pays off. We learn just how important the love of each other and working together as a team is. All of these things, something most teachers don't teach, and things we will never forget as we go." - Daina Jones