Sometimes it is the most satisfying to save the best for last. That was

apparently the case since the Wayne County High School Marching Band's

performance at their final competition at Marshall University Tri-State

Marching Festival was perhaps their best work of the season.

"Even though we had several achievements through out the season, we

really peaked when we needed to," said Wayne County High School Band

Director Rob Rawlings, noting that their past two competitions were their

finest performances of the season. "I'm very proud of them."

Their appearance at the Huntington, West Virginia, competition put them

in first place in Class AA on Saturday, October 31 out of nine bands. They

placed an impressive fifth out of 38 bands with a score of 84.96 with a

Superior rating to match.

"We were within one and a half points from being named grand champions,"

said Rawlings. "We faced some stiff competition from four different

states‹Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky," making it their most

demanding contest of the season.

The local band and their fans saw some very impressive shows from some

of the bigger schools with extremely well established programs, particularly

some very notable bands in West Virginia, like Cabell Midland and Spring


But, perhaps the key lesson learned by the Wayne County Marching Band

was that it took all 67 members to bring about their success, not a few

stand out musicians.

"We had a motto this year," said Rawlings. "The needs of the many

outweigh the needs of the few or one."

"So, our success was brought out by being a family or a team," remarked

Rawlings. "Winning overall is what matters."

"We work for the many and not the few. Working that way made us a

stronger band this year," said Co-Drum Major Rebekah Bell. "Placing fifth

out of 38 in the overall competition was a big thing for us, especially on

such a nice field at Marshall University. There were a lot of people

watching us."

"Marching season is a lot of fun because we get to travel and compete

more than during the concert band season in the spring," said Bell. We're a

very close group and we are really proud of what we accomplished this year."

Leading up to the final competition, the Wayne County High School

Marching Band really shined at the October 24 Pineville Mountain Lion

Classic. Their performance of "Childhood Memories," a medley of songs that

evoke positive childhood remembrances set to a modern jazzy rendition, stole

the show as the local band was named Grand Champions for the overall


During their preliminary round, Wayne County scored 81.5, followed up by

a final score of 83.5, receiving distinguished ratings in both performances

as they competed with ten other bands.

They received a variety of awards at Pineville leading up to the Grand

Champion title which included: first place in class, best guard in class,

highest percussion score overall, best visual performance, best music

performance, first place overall in prelims and finals, and spirit award.

It was not the first time they've received a first place award; however,

it was probably one of their best performances, prior to the final

competition. They have brought home first place awards in the last five

contests in Class AAA competition in Kentucky. They also received Reserve

Grand Champion at the Hazard competition, during their third competition in

September. Additionally, they have received awards for best percussion and

best color guard in the past competitions.

The Wayne County Marching Band is a real crowd pleaser when they perform

at the home football game halftime shows, besides the weekend competitions.

Rawlings is assisted by Assistant Director Eric Masters, who is a newcomer

to the program this year. Both gentlemen are University of Kentucky


"We really split the responsibilities and he serves more as a

co-director," said Rawlings.

"Jada Morrow is our color guard instructor, serving as a freelance staff

member," added Rawlings. "We'd also like to thank Mr. Pickrell (former band

director) for his support."

Rawlings initially attributed their outstanding performance at Pineville

to the students' extra hard work ethic the week leading up to the Grand

Champion performance. Apparently, the Grand Championship performance was

extra sweet since it is not something the students take for granted.

"This has been a long time coming," said Rawlings. "But, when you work

hard, good things happen."

Senior Co-Drum Major Madison Gooch said, "The perspective of hard work

has obviously paid off very well for our program. Throughout this season we

have learned the value of a good faith effort."

"From a senior perspective, these past four years have been a generation

of change. I couldn't think of a more pleasant way to end this seasonŠor for

that matter these past four years," said Gooch.

"Our students have been building on their successes," explained

Rawlings, who designed the visual package for the show.

"To be honest, they were a little skeptical about the show when we

started off because it was not a dark dramatic piece. But, as we perfected

it (Childhood Memories), they started to trust in it and buy into the

performance with a lot of feeling and emotion."

When they realized they had taken the top award at Pineville, "it was

like bedlam for the students and their fansŠthey were going crazy" with joy

and pride.

"Our parents and boosters helped us win the spirit award because it is

based on our fan support at the competition," Rawlings remarked. The band

supporters do everything from providing the musicians with food to moving

the equipment on and off the field to driving the trucks to loading and

unloading. Plus, supporters from the local community, as well as the board

of education are really appreciated because it takes a lot of individuals to

create a successful program.

If you have not been able to go on the road with the local band or

attend a home football game, there is still one more chance to see this

spectacular program.

"Our season isn't over with just yet. Please come out and support us at

our local Band Exhibition on November 12 at Jewell Field," added Gooch.

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