Band marches to victory

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Jack McGonagle

BY JACK MCGONAGLE (’18)

Over winter break, the band earned the chance to compete at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida and they did not disappoint, bringing back a total of 7 awards.

The band was selected to perform based off of their performance from last year at the Peach Bowl.

“Basically they listen to videos to get a feel for your band and then send you an invitation,” band director Jerod Smith said. “Honestly though, it’s still a mystery to me how they heard our band.”

The band put in lots of hard work in preparation for the bowl.

“We rehearsed for four weeks in the summer before school even started for anywhere between 4 and 12 hours a day,” Smith said. “Once the school year started we rehearsed about 6 hours a week, not counting football games, parades and festivals which are a huge amount of time as well. Once we hit Nov. 14, we continued to rehearse about 1-3 days a week until Dec. 28, including 3 in the Denison Field House which was the last 3 days before break.”

While in Tampa, the band competed in sit down competitions, a half-time field show and a parade.

“The parade was by far the most exciting high school parade I have ever been a part of with such an intense, energetic crowd,” Smith said.

The schedule was packed for the students.

“We typically had breakfast between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., worked hard all day and then went to bed anywhere between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.,” Smith said. “We did squeeze in some fun by going to Busch Gardens one day and then the beach for a while another day.”

The students expressed the fact that they really enjoyed their time on the trip.

“It was an absolute blast,” senior Daniel Abdelsamed said.

The band got to perform in a few different places.

“Most of our competitions took place at a local school called Jefferson High School right in the vicinity of the hotels and city,” Smith said. “We also performed at the parade, which was in Ybor City, a historic downtown area and then the bowl game in Raymond James Stadium.

The band took home many awards. Marching band won first place in class for the field show, first place in class for the parade and won the crowd favorite award. The concert band got second place in class, only finishing runner-up to the schools own symphonic band. The symphonic band won first in class. Jazz band won first in class and the grand champion award for all schools of all sizes.

“I’m most proud of our crowd favorite award because in my opinion, we should perform for the audience and not judges,” Smith said. “Also, I’ve been with this class of seniors since they were in middle school and it makes me so proud to see what they’ve accomplished.”

The seniors felt the same pride as their band director.

“It was very gratifying to see all the effort and hard work from the summer had paid off and helped us shine. I’m really proud of what we achieved as a band at the Outback Bowl,” senior Jackson Clark said.

Click here for a link to the band’s Twitter page where you can follow their progress.