Faces in the pavement


Members of Faces in the Pavement, a student band, smiled as they saw the crowd of athletes involved in the Special Olympics in Georgia clap and dance to their music. And there would be little reason for them not to smile as their band performed in front of 3,500 people for the first time, a feat that many high school bands cannot say they have accomplished.

“Oh, they like us,” sophomore William Dickey remembers thinking afterward, in reaction to seeing the audience’s enthusiastic response to their music.

The freshmen and sophomore band—consisting of pianist and vocalist Will Anderson, lead singer and guitar player Jimmy Denny, lead guitarist William Dickey, and drummer Warren Hedgepeth—had never played for so many people. They laughed while they described the shows they had played in the past, from a shaky debut at a junior high talent show, to homecoming, to a gig at the Red Light Café (a favorite among high school bands). They were excited to find out they would be playing in front of 3,500 people at the Special Olympics opening ceremony on Jan. 20 in Cobb County.

The group’s opportunity was offered to Faces in the Pavement by freshman Hamilton Miller’s mother, who had heard the students play a few times and thought they would be up for the challenge. She was on the board for the Special Olympics and offered them the gig to perform eight songs at the opening ceremony of the games. They started off the ceremony with their first six-song set, including covers like “Train in Vain” by the Clash, “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, “Symphony for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees, and two original songs. Following the opening set, the chairs of Special Olympics Georgia spoke and announced the local sponsors and the many benefactors that helped make the event, which lasted an entire weekend, possible. The torch was lit and Faces in the Pavement then broke into their second set composed of two original songs. It was in that set when the athletes really started to enjoy and get into the music.

“I just liked seeing the kids have fun, dancing around and clapping,” said Hedgepeth. “It was good [to see] that they felt happy and it was rewarding.”

Special Olympics Georgia, with a mission to provide sports opportunities and facilities to mentally handicapped children and adults, was started in 1970 and has continued to grow since then. Jan. 20-22 marked 2012’s Indoor Winter Games for Georgia, and over 1,500 athletes participated and competed in sports like gymnastics, bowling, and floor hockey.

The band also received hand-knitted scarves for their involvement in the ceremony. Around 3,000 scarves were made by people in nursing homes all across Georgia to be handed out at the ceremony to athletes and volunteers. The band performed their songs in these scarves, and after the ceremony was finished, they talked with the kids, took a picture with their first “fan,” and signed a few autographs.

“It was excellent for me because not only was this a huge opportunity,” said Denny,  “but it was also awesome for the people we played for. It was phenomenal.”

The band was started by freshman Hedgepeth and sophomore Dickey back when both were still in junior high. Their parents were best friends, and it only seemed natural that the two would start jamming together.

“Oh, this is fun,” said Dickey, describing the simple motivation for forming Faces in the Pavement.

Once Dickey found Anderson and Denny, the band was complete and immediately started practicing and performing. The high school band boasts four original songs that it can play live. This young band will continue to perform throughout its high school career, and its members hope that this will be the first of many large gigs that they will be able to perform.