FORT MILL TOWNSHIP The Nation Ford High School Marching Band finished in third place behind two other York County bands – Rock Hill and Northwestern – in the Upper State band competition on Saturday, with only a bit over a tenth of a point separating the top three bands.
“That’s really, really small,” said Director Martin Dickey. “What a close spread means is that next week it could go either way.”
This week, the band will prepare to compete for the top spot at the State competition Oct. 26 in Spring Valley. As band members prepare for the competition, they will continue working to improve things noted by judges at recent competitions, Dickey said.
“We’re just continuing to develop our program,” he said.
Dickey noted that this is a “young” band, with one of the largest freshmen classes in Nation Ford history.
“We’re young, so we’re very pleased to have a band performing as well as its performing at this time. We’re very pleased with their work and achievement on the field.”
Fort Mill High School Marching Band eschewed tradition this year and, for the first time in 40 years, did not attend the Upper State competition. Instead, the band traveled to Winston-Salem for a Bands of America Super Regional, where they competed in Class 3A. Fort Mill finished second in its class in the preliminary competition, earning a spot in the finals with the 12 top scoring bands.
The band finished second overall in the finals. First place went to Tennessee band Dobyns-Bennett.
Bands of America is a circuit of regional band competitions. BOA also hosts the Bands of America Grand National Championship each year at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Next week, the Fort Mill Marching Band will attend the BOA Super Regional at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Thirty-six bands from eleven states will compete at the competition, including Broken Arrow, a frequent Grand National winner. Fort Mill last competed in the Atlanta Super Regional in 2006.
“We have no delusions of grandeur going into Atlanta,” Band Director John Pruitt said. “It’s not quite Grand Nationals but we go into it knowing we will be happy just to be in the finals and we’re looking forward to performing in that great venue.”
Indian Land Marching Band had a stellar weekend, returning to Upper State in the Class 2A divisions after an upset last year where it missed making the cut off for the State finals.
The Warrior band performed its “best performance of the year” on Saturday, Director Mathew Willis said, and finished eighth, earning a spot in Saturday’s State competition.
“State finals was our goal this year and it has been accomplished,” Willis said in an email to the Fort Mill Times. “Very excited about the opportunity to perform again on the big stage.”
Nation Ford will have a community performance on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Nation Ford stadium. The performance is open to the public and free of charge, but officials request that attendees bring a canned good to contribute to the high school’s canned good drive.