GHS band earns superior ratings for third straight year

Published 5:39 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

For much of 2017, the Greenville High School Band has marched to a single mantra.

Three-peat.  Three-peat.  Three-peat.

The band realized its goal by earning superior marks across the board in a pair of Sept. 30 band competitions in Rehobeth and Daleville.

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The Tiger Pride Marching Band was judged across several different categories, including color guard, majorettes, dancers, percussion and drum major, in addition to a cumulative score assigned to the overall band.

In the realm of band competitions, schools are divided into five classes—Class 1A through 5A—according to the band’s size.  On that scale, Greenville is considered a Class 4A band, which means they competed against nearly 20 other similar-sized bands from Southeast Alabama, Southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.

Despite the breadth and depth of the competition, Greenville swept both competitions with perfect marks in each category.

Greenville High School band director Brett Johnson said that he met with the band’s section leaders at the beginning of the summer, and one of the unanimous goals was to leave a mark with an emphatic third consecutive superior sweep.

But for Johnson, the chase for consistency didn’t begin this year.

“I knew three years ago when we started it that I wanted something like this to happen so that the kids could work toward keeping the streak alive,” Johnson said. “If they keep on working and they have something to work towards, the success just kind of builds upon itself.”

“And they worked really hard throughout the season.  I tell them all the time that the competition is the easy part.  You earn your superiority ratings through the summer, when it’s hot and you’re working 10-hour days, and when you’re putting all of your heart and soul out there doing it ‘just one more time.’  You just pick up your trophies at the competition.”

And though the trophies carry intrinsic value, the attention they bring from colleges and universities is just as valuable, if not more so.

Last year, the Greenville High School band’s success drew band directors from such as Alabama State University and Huntingdon College. The directors got a glimpse of the Greenville program, talked about their own programs and met with seniors about their futures.

“The more this happens, the more we become on display for the rest of the universities and colleges around here,” Johnson added.

“And on the flipside of that, it encourages these senior musicians; when they are involved with that level of success, and they see that success and they’re inundated with that, they might be more apt to pursuing something like music in college.”

The marching band is the most familiar face of the program to the public, thanks in part to its halftime performances during football season.

But the marching band is one of many facets of the entire program, which also includes symphonic band, rock band, jazz band, color guard, majorettes, the competitive dance team and more.

With marching band competitions firmly in the rearview mirror, Johnson said that the band is refocusing its efforts on more challenges ahead.

“Playing for the football team and playing for the crowd is a big part of what we do, but we also use that halftime performance to prepare for these competitions,” he said.

“Now that that’s over with, we’re still doing the football stuff, but we’re winding down now with marching band and gearing up for other things like competition dance, concert band and symphonic band.”