Judges at the Upper Cumberland Marching Band Festival confirmed what many people already thought. The DeKalb County High School Band is “Excellent.” That was the overall rating the 48-member Division II band scored at the annual exhibition in Crossville on September 16.
“I thought the kids did great,” said Band Director Tracy Luna. “It was a real good first performance. I think they're right on track for Division II, our state championship on November 4th. I think we'll be ready.”
The band scored the top rating of Superior with its visual element, Superior for the percussion section, Superior for Drum Major Junior Ingram, and Superior for Auxiliary. Ingram tied for second place overall, and the percussion was overall third place in scoring.
“They [judges] look at different components of the marching and playing,” explained Luna. “They look at marching style, whether the band marches in step, and how good the forms look. The forms are the pictures we make from the perspective of the press box. They also look at music. Music has to be mostly in tune, the rhythm has to be pretty good and right, and they have to be balanced pretty well to get a good score.”
“The color guard is coming along. It adds a visual element to our repertoire that judges look for in the auxiliary section. They're right on pace to become a Superior ensemble as well.”
Bands did not compete for placement. Basically, each squad competes against itself to demonstrate where their skill level stands at this point in the marching season.
“I think they did terrific,” said Luna. “They're on the right track to being a superior band.
Bands hone in on particular musical themes for their performances, and for D.C.H.S, that focus is on Mangione Magic.
“Chuck Mangione was a terrific jazz flugelhorn player and jazz musician band leader from the 1970s, and some of his music carries over very well into today. The kids really dig the jazz we put out there and the Latin feel. “
“We open up with a piece that includes part of the "Children of Sanchez." Our second song is the "Land of Make Believe." The third song will be called "Echano" when we put it on the field in coming weeks.”
Along with the new Assistant Band Director Dalton Hawkins, Luna is making great strides with the band, improving in size and quality from the previous year.
“Quality wise the kids are learning and growing and developing better this year,” says Luna. “They're probably a good month ahead of where they were last year at this point. “
Students in 7th and 8th grades from DeKalb Middle and DeKalb West join with the high schoolers to perform at all football games, and for the two remaining competitions. Students in the band are Lauren Clark, Kyle Holmbeck, Abby Ludwig, Darrell Ludwig, Hannah Swoape, Maggie Felton, Brecken Gammons, Raiden Griffin, Javontae Martin, Skyler Southard, Kristopher Stansberry, Cheyenne Sutton, Savanna Warren, Sophia Amaya, Ana Amaya, Jaynee Angaran, Karleigh Atnip, Breanna Beaty, Brisa Brown, Molly Carrier, Alex Cowan, Hunter Davis, Brittney Edwards, Emily Glass, Natalie Gopar Torres, Junior Ingram, Savannah Jackson, Emma Johnson, Tori Linder, Liberty Mildner, Joshua Moon, Megan Mooneyham, Christian Owen, Haylea Owen, Seth Patterson, Zachary Pettit, Axel Rico, Elisabeth Saylors, Blaine Sexton, Edith Silva Godinez, Harley Sloan, Nathaniel Snell, James Tramel, Linda West, Gavin Conger, and Harmony Patterson.