October 28, 2006
ATLANTA, GA - The Tarpon Springs Outdoor
Performance Ensemble delivered an outstanding performance at
the Super Regional Bands of America competition in the Georgia Dome
on Saturday night, October 28, earning top honors as Grand Champions
of the competition.
Forty-four bands from throughout the Eastern U.S.
competed in the 2-day event which started on Friday, October 27.
Tarpon Springs' first preliminary performance was scheduled for
Saturday at 1:45 p.m., which allowed all day Friday as a travel
and rehearsal day.
The performance weekend began on Thursday night
with a final home-field rehearsal. The Prop Team loaded the semi
and the stage-trailer and departed late Thursday night with the
equipment in order to to meet the band in Valdosta on Friday. Other
Band Booster leaders flew to Atlanta early on Friday ahead of the
band to insure that hotel and other arrangements were in place prior
to the band arrival.
Following a 6:00 a.m. bus departure from TSHS,
band members, instructors and chaperones arrived in Valdosta, GA
in time for lunch. After lunch, the band was treated to the gracious
hospitality of Lowndes High School in Valdosta who allowed the band
to use its practice field to get in a 4-hour rehearsal under cloudy
skies. Mr. Charles E. Todd, Director of the Lowndes High School
Band was, as always, extremely professional and accommodating.
He, his staff and students spent time watching the Tarpon Springs
ensemble run through their routines. "We couldn't ask for a
greater partnership than what we have with Lowndes," said Tarpon
Springs Director Kevin Ford. "Mr. Todd is an outstanding director
in a great organization and I wish him and his band the best in
their Chicago performance this year." (The Georgia Bridgemen
Band will perform in the State Street Thanksgiving Day Parade
in Chicago on November 23. They also performed in the 2006 Tournament
of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. in January.)
The Valdosta rehearsal ended just as the rain
started to fall. With percussion instruments and equipment safely
loaded and all members on the three charter busses, it was a rainy
drive to Atlanta. The band arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel around
Saturday morning found the band up early heading
to Woodward Academy in College Park, GA. Previous arrangements had
been made with Woodward to use their fine facilities for a 2-hour
rehearsal. On a cool (some would say "cold") and blustery
day, the band worked on some of the finer points of the program
before grabbing a quick sandwich and chips provided by the Boosters.
The staff at Woodward were thanked for being so friendly and accommodating,
and then it was off to the Georgia Dome.
An Interstate highway mishap with the stage-trailer
caused the props and percussion to arrive at the Dome much later
than scheduled. Thanks to the efforts of the students, instructors,
and many parents, the semitrailer was unloaded at the Dome
in record time. Battered and bruised props were repaired, cleaned
up and assembled as the clock ticked off towards the performance
time of 1:45 p.m. The short turnaround time left members of the
Percussion Section unable to properly warm up. Some props were still
being assembled "on the fly" as they rolled up the ramp
into the stadium. But as they hit the television lights inside the
Georgia Dome, the props were as ready to perform as the band members
who were pushing them!
It was evident in the ensemble's prelim competition
that the students had indeed learned from the theme of their own
show about overcoming adversity. A fine (albeit, not perfect) performance
was good enough to earn top honors in the AA Division, including
Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance and
Outstanding General Effect, advancing the Ensemble to the Finals
competition. At the Directors' meeting following the prelims, Director
Kevin Ford drew the 10:00 p.m. (second-to-last) performance slot
for the Finals competition that night.
The late performance draw allowed plenty of time
for the band, instructors, and prop crew to catch their breath and
prepare properly for the Finals performance. Dinner was served in
the Georgia World Conference Center adjacent to the Dome and the
entire ensemble watched and critiqued their preliminary performance
on DVD video.
At the appointed hour, the Tarpon Springs Outdoor
Performance Ensemble once again walked through the tunnel before
a huge crowd in the Georgia Dome. From the opening chords of Every
Passion Has Its Destiny, the ensemble delivered a sparkling
performance. Then at 11:00 p.m., the announcement came - Tarpon
Springs High School had earned first place in the Bands of America
Super Regional Competition! An encore performance followed, with
hundreds of members from competing bands sitting on the sideline
turf enjoying Every Passion up close and personal.
After the encore performance, Mr. Ford gathered
the Band together at the 50 yard line of the Georgia Dome and told
the members to "look around and enjoy the moment, because you
earned it." By 1:00 a.m., with championship trophy in tow,
the band boarded the busses for the long overnight ride back to
Tarpon Springs; by 3:00 a.m., the Prop Crew finished loading props
and percussion into the truck and onto the trailer and they too
headed home after a long weekend.
Director Ford described the experience: "Not
to take anything away from our students, but Saturday night's results
could have justifiably went to Kennesaw Mountain or Carmel High
School as the Grand Champions. Those are some amazing band programs
with some of the finest music educators in our country. Regardless
of where we finished, we should all just be proud that the quality
of our performance efforts are considered equaled with the efforts
of those outstanding and classy organizations."
"Our entire organization experienced a weekend
that I think all of us will never forget for the rest of our lives.
Believe it or not
the experience of being crowned Grand Champions
while it was a huge honor was NOT the most incredible part of the
weekend. In all of my life, I have never witnessed a greater display
of teamwork and effort that was displayed by everyone including
students, parents, administration, and instructional staff. I am
so proud of each of you! You conducted yourselves with class, integrity,
and put forth some amazing efforts."
Complete BOA competition results are available
at the Bands of America website
(free site registration is required).
Has Its Destiny" will next be performed at the Florida
Band Association Festival at Clearwater High School on Saturday,
November 4, 2006. The final performance will be at the Bands of
America National Championships in Indianapolis on November 11, 2006.