• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS Marching Band named Grand Champion

Being named River City Grand Champion was a significant milestone for the Woodford County High School Marching Band. It has been at least 17 years since the band program has been named a Grand Champion, director Michael Collins said.

“Now we know we can go somewhere and be competitive,” said Collins. “We can have the confidence to know that going into a show.”

In addition to earning the highest overall score among eight high school bands at the River City Classic in Louisville Sept. 22, WCHS also had the competition’s best overall percussion performance.

WCHS junior tuba player Colin Teague said being named Grand Champion helped him really appreciate how hard everyone in the band has worked. “It was a lot, but it was definitely worth it,” he said.

Having been a part of the WCHS Marching Band program since eighth grade, senior mellophone player Jenna Butler said, “I never thought we’d get to this point to be completely honest. It’s been such a journey having such a growth from then until now.”

It’s pretty amazing to know the seemingly impossible can happen with hard work, she added.

Success for this 77-student marching band at the River City Classic came in a rain that picked up in intensity during their performance.

“They really came together and fought through the conditions and delivered a good show that would’ve been a good show in good conditions let along what they had to deal with,” said Collins. “So I was really proud of that especially. They showed a lot of mental toughness.”

Before their performance in Louisville, the WCHS Marching Band students spent countless hours in practice improving the music and visual performance for their show, “Voices of the Sky,” which Collins said pleases him.

“Every year you want to put together a show that’ll be competitive,” he explained. “What I tried to do this year was put together (a show) that would be unique, and something a little bit different than maybe what some of the trends are right now.

“It doesn’t start big and loud. A lot of shows start big and loud. And I think that factor is certainly helping us stand out. It’s always about execution and how well you do what you do, but the fact that this show has some unique qualities to it certainly helps.”

More than half of the students in this year’s marching band are underclassmen (eighth-graders are also allowed to play in high school bands). Collins said he downplays that because age is not a factor in earning a score at competition.

“They work as hard as most of the upperclassmen, if not harder,” said Jenna. She and Colin agree that the freshmen and sophomores push the older musicians to up their game.

As this marching band makes a push toward championship season, Collins said he’s excited to see how far his students have come and what they can accomplish. “To see where we end up at the end of the year is going to be really exciting,” he explained.

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