The Thomson High School band seized its opportunity to shine, earning accolades from judges at some recent competitive festivals that drew a host of talented bands from different areas.
This past weekend, the band had a successful day at the Rome Peach State Festival where they joined 22 bands participating this year.
The THS Band received a Superior rating, the highest rating given, in all categories, said band director Jessie Morlan. Categories were drum major, flag line, dance line and majorette, drum line.
"I am so proud of this group. They did an awesome job and took it up a few notches from the last competition," Mr. Morlan said.
The auxiliary units presented very strong performances; the dance line and majorette scored a 92 out of a possible 100, and the flag line scored 90 out of a possible 100.
Earlier this year at the Loy E. Wagner Invitational in Williamston, S.C., the Thomson band earned a Superior rating. In addition, feature twirler Ali Mays scored 94 out of a possible 100 points at that competition.
Judges from South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee rated the Thomson Band on categories of musical performance, marching, general effect, percussion, auxiliary unit and difficulty.
At the most competitive event Thomson has ever attended, the Spring Valley Competition of Bands in Columbia, S.C., the young musicians earned an overall Excellent rating. This ranking was on par with the other 26 bands which came from very competitive, upscale programs, Mr. Morlan said. The average band at that competition held at least two State Championship band titles, and most were heading to the national Bands of America competition the following week to vie for a national title.
Although judges on a national level are harder and very critical, the band performed well.
"This is the hardest competition this school's band program has ever participated in and I am very proud of their success," Mr. Morlan said.
The event gave students and parents alike a glimpse at the next level of competition and inspired them to set some lofty goals, said Harris Richards, vice president of the band.
Harris, a junior, said, "This gave us a new challenge, and we're getting better and better."
Showcasing their competition piece, "Latin Heat," the band presented the piece in its entirety for the first time ever at the Spring Valley Competition. The band's success this year can be attributed to a team approach and to strong community support. The band staff put in many hours of work preparing for the season and making it successful, while the section leaders did an outstanding job managing the students during their journey, Mr. Morlan said.
"The drum majors did an exceptional job in competitions -- Blakely Holley, Amy Weimar and Johnny Weischedel," he said.
Strong community support has always inspired students in the fine arts programs, said Thomson High School Assistant Principal Lynn Cato.
"We have wonderful community support for our fine arts programs of music, drama, visual arts and band. The community attends the events, and shows genuine delight in how well they perform," she said.Ý