On the occasion of the 35th Annual Tournament of Champions on Tuesday, The local high school marching band musicians reflected on what some saw as a shortcoming in the competition.
COVID-19 curtailed the group’s activities and performance in general last year, and the students explained how sorely they missed this special time in the sun. A football game is all well and good, because people know the fanfare by their performance at half-time. For themselves, members of the Benton Cardinal Band, the Irish Pride and the Blue & White Regiment see this event hosted by Missouri Western State University – in which they took on 17 other counterpart institutions in the region – as the real test of strength and showmanship.
Samantha Dotson, an elder at Central High School, said the tournament places a particular burden on groups in the St. Joseph area to excel. CHS performed “Dreams You Dare to Dream” under the direction of directors Lynnea Wootten, Alex Caselman and Chad Lippincott. Dotson, Anna Davis and Zoe Truax are the drum majors.
âIt’s like our land, you know,â she said. âWe’re from here and it’s pretty fun being able to just dominate your area. We own this place, we think we’re going to win this competition and we’re going to show these people what it is, (and) what Central is. “
Chris Hawkins, a junior at Benton, explained that the Cardinals have been preparing for their routine, which includes songs popularized by “The Jackson 5,” since June under the direction of directors Daniel DeClue and Judy Long. Kaylin DeWar is the drum major.
âIt was amazing to be there,â he said. âIt’s great to have all these fans here to see us. It is the something we all look forward to. Of course we play all the games and stuff. These are always fun, and these are always important, but this is the most important. This is what we are working for. “
Makenna Alden of Lafayette said the high standards she sets for herself as a leader comes through most at these competitive events. And she depends entirely on the equal dedication of her peers. The Irish Pride routine titled “Dragon Hunt” was conducted by directors Joe Schreimann and Mark Knorr, as well as Drum Major Alden.
âYou know, if you’re on a basketball or volleyball team, you can sit on the bench, you could be on the sidelines, but in a group everyone has to play and everyone has to play. world is heard, âshe said. “It helps bring everyone together … The community and the friendship it brings is really the best part.”
The Blue & White Regiment competed in Class 3A against Savannah High School, Staley High School, William Chrisman High School and Lewis Central High School. Benton and Lafayette, in Class 1A, faced off against Riverton High School, Mid-Buchanan High School, Sherwood High School, Albany High School, Lathrop High School and Lawson High School.
Central ended up placing second in its class and Lafayette placed third in 1A.