Marching Terriers ready for season to begin on Aug. 25

The William Byrd High School Marching Terriers prepare for the upcoming marching season, which begins on August 25.
Seniors in the Marching Terriers band pose for their annual scaffolding photo.

The William Byrd High School Marching Terriers will premiere their program for this season, “The Power of Music,” at the first home football game of the year on August 25. The Terriers will be facing Cave Spring High School.

Practices began at the end of July for the color guard, percussion, and band rookies. The first week of August was home camp at WBHS for the entire band. The second week in August was away camp at Camp Bethel in Botetourt County.

The week at Camp Bethel featured field drills, time in the pool, and the popular Band Olympics competition, which included musical chairs, egg carry, T-shirt swap, hula pass, Simon Says, Twister, chair basketball, and whistle-after-eating-a-cracker. The woodwinds section placed first in the contest. The week concluded with a picnic and performance for parents to wrap things up on August 12.

Post-camp back at William Byrd followed from August 14-17.

Performances this year at home games will be on September 15 when the Terriers play Martinsville, on October 13 when the football team faces William Fleming, and on October 27 when Lord Botetourt visits.

The Marching Terriers will participate in competitions at Glenvar on September 30; at Franklin County on October 7, at Liberty University on October 28, and in Virginia Beach on November 4.

The band is directed by Dan Plybon. Other staff members include Denise Aspell, sixth and seventh grade band instructor at William Byrd Middle School, percussion instructor Rob Curtin, and Jes Curtin, color guard instructor.

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.

As for the choice of this year’s  theme, “The Power of Music,” 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.”

The program’s 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.

Robin Geisler is returning as band booster president this season. Other band booster officers include Vice President Troy Stultz, Secretary Chrissy Dinnerville, Treasurer Debra Dietrich, and head of Ways and Means, Robyn Tuck.

The band boosters conduct numerous fundraising activities to raise the thousands of dollars needed for basic operating expenses, band camp, and participation in several Saturday band competitions throughout the marching season. Band boosters not only raise money but chaperone games and competitions.

One of the band’s largest fundraisers of the year is the annual Preview of Champions, scheduled for September 16 at the WBHS stadium. This year marks the 22nd year of the Preview event.  Bands from across the region will be competing at what is generally the area’s first band competition each year. The Marching Terriers will perform in exhibition that day.

The band directors and band boosters would like to thank the band parents for their support and their participation in all of the many activities it takes to fund, transport, and supervise band members.

The William Byrd High School band was established in 1931 and is celebrating its 86th anniversary this year. The Marching Terriers have played a significant role in the Town of Vinton throughout those years. In fact, the annual Dogwood Festival in Vinton had its beginnings as a fundraising effort for the band to purchase new uniforms.

In addition to performing in the Dogwood Festival each spring, the Marching Terriers traditionally lead off the Vinton Christmas Parade, scheduled this year for November 30. In addition, the Jazz Band performs on the Market Stage at the Vinton Fall Festival and at the Dogwood Festival.

Businesses and individuals are encouraged to both support the band and to advertise by purchasing ads in the Preview program. Details are available from Robin Geisler at

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