VINTON–The William Byrd High School Marching Terriers Band hosted their 20th annual Preview of Champions band competition on September 19. The event was blessed with balmy weather and a stadium filled with talented musicians, proud families, and an appreciative crowd.
Twelve bands participated—11 in competition and WBHS in exhibition. The bands came from across the region and as far away as Raleigh, North Carolina, for what is generally the first competition of the marching band season.
“The concept of our competition is to offer excellent adjudication at an early stage,” said WBHS Band Director Dan Plybon.”This should in turn provide the necessary critiques in order to develop a successful and rewarding experience for the students. This is indeed a ‘Preview of Champions’ for there are only champions here today.”
Preview is organized and produced as a fundraiser by the Band Boosters, band staff, and students.
Competition got underway at 4 p.m. Each band was allotted 15 minutes to perform and was evaluated by judges on the field and in the viewing booth.
Bands in competition are judged on their musical performance, their marching form and precision, and on general effect (showmanship, guard work, difficulty level, communication with the audience, visuals, and transitions) and given a rating of superior, excellent, or good in the adjudication. They compete in classes based on size. Judges traditionally come from outside the region to evaluate the performances.
Glenvar High School was chosen by the judges as the Grand Champion of the event in the Class A/AA category. Liberty Christian Academy was named Grand Champion for Class AAA/AAAA. The Franklin County Marching Eagles were voted “Band of the Day” determined by monetary donations from the crowd.
Rustburg and Westover Christian Academy performed in Class A. The Rustburg “Marching Red Devils” repertoire was “Teen Spirit.” Their director is Mike Straw, with drum major Daniel Oliver.
Westover Christian Academy from Danville, directed by Donnie Davis, with drum majors JaRiah Morris and Austin Robertson, performed the program “Friends” featuring the tunes “Friends Forever,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “I’ll Be There,” “Lean on Me,” and “Happy.” Westover won Overall honors in Class A and took first place in Drum Major, Color Guard, Marching, Music, Percussion, and General Effect in their class.
Bands in Class AA represented Glenvar High School, Parry McCluer High School from Buena Vista, and William Campbell High School.
The Glenvar Marching Highlanders performed “Renegade.” Zac Sweeney directs the Glenvar band. Drum majors are Sophia Morris and Emily Anderson. They won Overall honors in Class AA and first place in Color Guard, Marching, Percussion, Music, and General Effect.
Parry McCluer entertained with their program “America Latino.” Anna Jarrett directs the “Marching Blues” from Parry McCluer. Drum majors are Robert Chaplin and Marissa Knudson.
The William Campbell “Marching Generals” are directed by Joseph Ayers with drum major Jordyn Hamlett. They presented the “Music of Mancini,” including “Moon River” and the “Pink Panther.” They won first place in Drum Major in their class.
Liberty Christian Academy from Lynchburg and Blacksburg High School competed in Class AAA. Liberty performed their program “Hope” including “Joy to the World,” “Ode to Joy,” “Fix You,” and “Happy.” Their band is directed by Larry Seipp with drum major Aliza Nogueras. Their band won Overall honors in their class, as well as first place finishes in Drum Major, Color Guard, Marching, Percussion, Music, and General Effect.
The Blacksburg High School Marching Bruins, led by director Darrell Pearman and drum major Michaela Bethard performed “Carmina Burana.”
In the Class AAAA division bands from Floyd County, Patrick Henry, Southeast Raleigh, and Franklin County competed.
“The Pride of Floyd County” band with director Jay Durner, and drum majors Holly Landreth and Trevor King, performed “Riverdance.”
The Patrick Henry High School “Marching Patriots” presented “Music from the Godfather, Romeo and Juliet, and Canon in D”. The band is led by Alex Schmitt with drum majors Wyatt Greene and Elisha Moyer.
The Southeast Raleigh “Marching Bulldog Band” performed “Night Watch.” Their director is Clifton Scott. Drum majors are Equince Smith and Nathan Hartman. Southeast Raleigh won Overall honors for Class AAAA. They won first place finishes in Drum Major, Marching, and General Effect.
The Franklin County Marching Eagles directed by Robb Shipp with drum majors Thomas Kellison and Dijuan Gilbert played their repertoire “4” with selections “Conquest, War, Famine, and Death.” The Eagles won first place finishes in Color Guard, Percussion, and Music.
The WBHS Marching Terriers concluded the evening with their exhibition performance of “Machine.”
Their William Byrd student leadership is made up of Corps Commander Sarah Frary, drum majors Joshua Hylton and Melissa Wu, horn line captains Jordon Baker, Hailey Blair, and Peyton Wilmer, percussion captains Trevor Bowman and Amelia Tilley, and Color Guard captain Autumn Alls. William Byrd Middle School band director Denise Aspell is the assistant director of the WBHS band. Whitney Puckett directs the color guard; Rob Curtin is the drum instructor; and Chris Steuart serves as band assistant.
Plybon commented that Saturday was “a wonderful day for Preview.”
“I heard from many participants about how impressed they were with how well everything was organized,” said Plybon. “It was like a well oiled ‘machine.’ Thank you to all the band parents and friends who worked so very hard to make our day a successful event. Special thank you’s go out to the prop builders. They looked and operated beautifully.”
The props included gigantic smokestacks powered by fire extinguishers which created the effect of steam, but were water-based and harmless to humans and football fields.
“Huge thank you’s to the parents working out in the sun all day pulling and lugging equipment for all the bands,” continued Plybon. “Thank you, Robin Geisler for being the tip of the spear that made everything a success. We as a band family are truly blessed to have so many wonderful parents doing an often thankless and tireless job to make us the great band program we are.”
Band Booster officers for 2015-2016 include President Robin Geisler, Vice President David Cherry, Treasurer Teresa Tate, Secretary Stephanie Krippel, and Ways and Means chair Robyn Tuck. Numerous sponsors contributed to the event including Partner Sponsors McDonald’s of Vinton, Tech Squared, and Applebee’s.
Announcer Marc Hinkle kept the crowd entertained between performances with Air Gram messages for band members from their supporters.
The Marching Terriers will take part in competitions at the Celtic Classic at Glenvar High School on September 26, in the Lynchburg Classic on October 10, at James Madison University on October 17, and at Pulaski on October 31.
Their annual Fruit Sale fundraiser gets underway in October with delivery in December. More information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.