The William Byrd Marching Terriers hosted their 22nd annual Preview of Champions band competition on September 16 at the high school stadium.
Ten high school bands competed in the event– Rustburg, Westover Christian Academy, Glenvar, Southeast Raleigh, Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Floyd County, Franklin County, George Washington from Danville, and Salem.
The Marching Terriers did not compete, as is the custom, but performed their “Power of Music” program to conclude the event.
The Preview of Champions is generally the first marching competition in the area each year and showcases the talents of each band. According to Band Director Dan Plybon, “The concept of our competition is to offer excellent adjudication at an early stage. This should, in turn, provide the necessary critiques to develop a successful and rewarding experience for the students.”
Bands are judged and rated on their drum majors, color guard, percussion, marching, general effect, music, and overall performance.
The stadium was packed with spectators in perfect weather. This was the first band competition to be held on the new synthetic turf and rubberized track at Robert A. Patterson Stadium, which required some careful movement of equipment by the bands.
The Rustburg Marching Red Devils performed “Guardians of the Galaxy.” They placed first in Class A in marching, general effect, music and overall performance, and second in percussion, drum major, and color guard.
Westover Christian Academy performed “Everyday Heroes,” which focused on people in our lives “who go unnoticed each day, going the extra mile to do the little things that make the world go ’round.” The band placed first in Class A in percussion, drum major, and color guard with second places finishes in general effect, music, marching, and overall performance.
The Glenvar High School Marching Highlanders performed “Unite,” winning first place in Class AA in percussion, music, marching and overall performance, and second place in general effect.
Southeast Raleigh High School, all the way from North Carolina, placed first in Class AA in drum major, color guard, and general effect with its expansive “Pyramids of Egypt” performance. The Marching Bulldogs took second place in percussion (in a tie with Blacksburg), music and overall performance.
Christiansburg High School’s Marching Blue Demons performed a pirate-themed “Walk the Plank,” winning second place in Class AA in marching, drum major, and color guard, and fourth place in overall performance.
Blacksburg High School performed a program based on “Symphonic Movements,” and tied for second place in Class AA with Southeast Raleigh in percussion and took third place in overall performance.
The Floyd County Pride of Floyd performed an engaging “Fiddler on the Roof,” and took second place in Class AAA in overall performance, percussion, general effect, music, marching, drum major, and percussion.
The Franklin County Marching Eagles performed their “Watched” program, winning first place in Class AAA in overall performance, percussion, general effect, music, marching, drum major, and color guard.
The George Washington Marching Eagles put on a spectacular performance of “The Beauty Within,” winning first place in Class AAAA in overall performance, percussion, general effect, music, marching, drum major, and color guard.
The “Pride of Salem” presented its “RISE” program, winning first place in Class AAAAA in overall performance, percussion, general effect, music, marching, drum major, and color guard.
The highest awards of this year’s Preview went to Southeast Raleigh High School’s band that was named Grand Champions of Classes A and AA, and George Washington High School, named Grand Champions of Classes AAA, AAAA, and AAAAA.
The Band of the Day, voted on by those in attendance with monetary donations, was Salem High School’s “Pride of Salem.”
The William Byrd band performed its new program for the season, “The Power of Music,” in exhibition at the end of the evening as the judges were tabulating scores for the competing bands. The repertoire includes “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, “Someone Like You” by Adele, “Rumor Has It,” also by Adele, and “Firework” by Katy Perry.
As for why the “Power of Music” theme was selected, Plybon said, “Music has the ability to change our mood. Slow and soft music can be calming and relaxing, bringing us peace of mind. Loud and fast music can stimulate us and give us energy. Music can trigger wonderful memories that give us emotional feelings. Music can provide a common ground of enjoyment that ultimately can bring people closer together.”
There are 64 members of the marching band this year led by Corps Commander Megan Wu, Drum Major Jasmine Crawford, Horn Line Captain Rebecca Geisler, Color Guard Captain Natalie Yates, and Percussion Captain Jacob Speck.
Squad leaders are K.J. Elmore, Everett Fletchall, Josephine Brandimore, Maggie Steuart, Alyssa Summey, Aalysa Stuckey, Dane Blackwood, Courtney Cherry, and Kaylee Tuck.
In addition to Plybon, the band is led by assistant Denise Aspell, percussion instructor Rob Curtin, color guard instructor Jes Curtin, and Chris Steuart.
The Preview of Champions event would not be possible without the efforts of the William Byrd Band Boosters. The Band Boosters bear much of the responsibility for the logistics of the Preview event, for chaperoning football games and competitions, and for fundraising throughout the year.
Robin Geisler is band booster president this season. Other officers include Vice President Troy Stultz, Secretary Chrissy Dinnerville, Treasurer Debra Dietrich, and Head of Ways and Means Robyn Tuck.
“This is my ninth and final year with the band boosters, serving four years as president,” said Geisler.” It has been some of the most memorable times for me and my family. I love working with the students; most call me Momma G. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make my job easier. Our band families are the best boosters around. I have made friendships that have lasted past band. Parents, get involved with your student’s activities; the booster clubs need you; the students will love you for it. You will get so much more out of it.”
While Preview of Champions is a major fundraiser for the Marching Terriers, there are also others. The band is one of the William Byrd Booster Clubs that work Bingo at Valley Hall. Their annual fruit sale begins in October for delivery in early December.
Partner sponsors for the Preview of Champions include McDonald’s of Vinton and Tech Squared. Other sponsors whose donations helped make Preview a success include Berglund Outdoors, Grand Rental Station, Star City Powersports, Little Caesars, VICE (Virginia Industrial Cleaners and Equipment Co.), and Pepsi, along with individuals Rita Mason and Marc Hinkle.