By Ashley Rader
The Elizabethton High School Betsy Band is ranked as one of the top three bands in the state following the Tennessee Division II state band competition held Saturday at Independence High School near Nashville.
Photo by David McQueen - The Elizabethton High School Betsy Band ranked in third place at the state championship.
The 135-member Betsy Band went to state as defending state champions and hoped to be able to bring the trophy back home this year. They came in third in the competition against 20 other high school marching bands. Their final score was 91.04, which was coincidentally higher than their score last year. Last year, the band scored a 90.16 when they won the state title.
EHS Band Director Perry Elliott described the competition as a battle of the champions. The Betsy Band was in the top three with two other previous champions. The second place winner was Fred J. Page High School of Franklin, Tenn., with a score of 91.18 and first place went to Gibson County High School with a score of 91.83.
“We all scored in the 91 range,” Elliott said. “We were 1/10 of a point out of second and 7/10 of a point of off first. We are all battle-hardened bands that had won a championship before. It was a good contest.”
The EHS band performed their show titled “Through the Eyes of a Hero,” which details the journey of a soldier through their days in the military. They had been working on perfecting the show since the end of July. Prior to leaving for the competition Elliott remarked the band had been working hard all season to prepare and he was pleased with their effort and progress.
Photo by David McQueen - EHS Band Drum Major Joseph LaPorte receives his trophy after winning first place in the drum major category.
Elliott said the band performed very well during both of their performances at state. He said their preliminary performance was “very good” and their final performance was “even better.” Even with their quality performances, he said the students were a little disappointed with the results.
“They were a little downtrodden,” Elliott said. “They had invested quite a bit. They were very gracious when the results were announced and they represented the city of Elizabethton very well. I tell them it’s not every day they can say they are one of the top three bands in the state.”
Elliott also commented on the amount of support the Betsy Band had during the competition. He noted they were the school that had traveled the farthest and they had the largest support group at the competition.
“I was stunned by the amount of support we had in Nashville,” he said. “It was a fun weekend and it was a great weekend. The band worked very hard and they are one of the top three bands in the state which is fabulous.”
The Betsy Band received superior ratings in categories of band, percussion, color guard and field commander. The group entered the finalist’s event as a top five band. The first round had garnered Drum Major Joseph LaPorte, a senior at EHS, a third place field commander accolade with Betsy’s percussion receiving second place honors. Also, Betsy received first in high music and tied Gibson County High School for the honor of high general/visual effects during preliminaries.
For the final scores, the EHS percussion section received a score of 93.5 for a third place finish in finals. LaPorte received a score of 98.5 to win the honor of first place field commander.