The student-formed band Thus Far headlined this year’s JamFest, playing for students and Homecoming attendees just before a fireworks show.
With the band’s members graduating and moving forward, however, they felt a certain change was necessary.
Alex Howard, ACU graduate from Longview, said after singing recently with a manager based out of London the band realized there were other groups with the same band name, Thus Far.
“They weren’t really big; they hadn’t really done anything important,” Howard said. “But we still decided, together with our manager, that we could think of another, better name.”
Howard, along with band member Kara DuBose, senior advertising and public relations major from Ft. Worth, decided on a new name: The Light Parade.
“We’ve already changed our name and are performing as The Light Parade,” Howard said. “Our first show with our new name was last week.”
DuBose said she joined Howard in Thus Far about a year ago. Before she joined, Howard had already written most of the music Thus Far has since performed, and not necessarily with DuBose’s vocals in mind. She said the band’s new name symbolizes its development.
“Really what I think the name change is going to accomplish is before, as Thus Far, it was Alex’s thing,” DuBose said. “With the new name, it’s both of us, and it’s equal. The old songs were Alex’s songs I was singing on. The Light Parade will be new art with both of our hearts written into it.”
Howard and DuBose said the band’s sound will also change as they grow as artists.
“What we’ve done before is fairly acoustic driven, very low key and folky-type stuff,” Howard said. “Kara and I are hoping to really expand and incorporate a full band sound. For us it’s kind of a fresh start.”
Howard moved to Austin after graduation, a city known for a music scene that is very receptive to local acts like The Light Parade.
“In the fall I did a lot of writing,” Howard said. “We’ve really just been getting ready for Kara to graduate to play around here and keep our Austin fan base.”
With the help of its manager, The Light Parade plans to go abroad to test its new sound on a different audience. Howard said he hopes music fans in the U.K. will be receptive to the band’s new sound.
“After that we’re going to Ireland for three months to be closer to our manager and get into that scene in the U.K.,” Howard said. “We think our sound will really fit the vibe of things over there.”
Fans of Thus Far have much to look forward to in The Light Parade, and Howard and DuBose will continue to play for their peers in Abilene and Austin.
“It was cool to come back to ACU for me because we spent the whole summer playing here in Austin where we were pretty much unknown, so playing to ACU is always pretty special,” Howard said. “People at school know our music a lot better, so it is really special to see those few people singing along and knowing the words to the songs. It was Homecoming weekend, but it really was like a homecoming for me.”
DuBose said she often enjoys playing for strangers even more than for her friends.
“My friends know my heart, and it’s kind of no big deal to play in front of them,” DuBose said. “I feel like it’s a bigger deal to play in front of strangers, like I’m accomplishing my mission. I want to let people see the Holy Spirit inside of me when I sing.”
Howard said he will always remember practicing in his dorm room and playing around Abilene when he thinks of Thus Far.
“Writing a song and practicing and then playing it in my room for my friends – back then it was a pipe dream,” Howard said. “I’ll remember me and my friends playing at Tuscany’s, playing for even just five people. We were so amped. We didn’t really have any aspirations to make it a career.”
When thinking about the future of the band, DuBose said she envisions Alex and herself on vocals – with other people on instruments like the bass, keyboard and drums.
“But I also envision our career being where we can play shows in countless cities where people know our music who we’ve never met,” DuBose said.
The Light Parade will perform Nov. 29 at Hardin-Simmons University for a campus-wide Christmas party.