This past weekend was huge for the Ninety Six Wildcat Marching Band as they won their 3rd consecutive 1A SCBDA State Marching Band Championship. A feat many would say is impossible, but not for the Wildcats!
Two weeks ago they earned their 9th consecutive Upper State title as well.
But this year’s show is something special for sure as they swept every category at every competition this year including State. With this year’s success, we’re confident in saying that this places the NS Marching Band in a league of their own.
Their show the “Wild Wild West” is seriously impressive from the time their pit crew pulls the massive western buildings onto the field to the last note is played.
Ninety Six Band has a massive support system. As they leave out for each competition, their convoy is as long as many small town Christmas parades with two school busses, two tractor trailers, band trailer and about 5 other trucks pulling gators, golf carts and other equipment. Following them is about 20 more cars!
One can tell this program takes a lot of support from the staff, students, parents and a community. We caught up with their Band Director, David Vickery to get his thoughts on this year’s program and asked a few other questions.
“I am humbled by so much surrounding this band program. The amount of effort that goes into creating our marching show is staggering. Marching band is not something that takes place over 3 month time from when school starts. It is a culmination of nearly 9 months of work and planning. The directors began planning in early 2017. Music writing, recruitment meetings, marching band signing day, and rookie camp have to be done by the end of May. Our summer break is filled with ordering costumes, drill writing, prop planning in additions to color guard, percussion and full band camps that lead to the start of school. When school starts the band rehearses three days a week for a total of nine hours and has competitions and Friday night football game responsibilities to fulfill supporting our football team and fans though October.”
We hear a lot about the support surrounding your band program. So what goes on behind the scenes that helps support a successful band program such as yours?
Vickery: The Ninety Six Band program is blessed beyond measure to have an army of band parent support organized by our Band Booster Club officers. Our band parents spend countless hours working behind the scenes building and repairing props, moving equipment to and from performances, fitting and sewing uniforms, planning meals, pulling trailers, fundraising, and working concessions at the football games. So much of the credit for our success goes to the sacrifices our parents make in supporting their children.
What are your thoughts now as you reflect back on Saturday’s State Competition?
Vickery: Saturday was a very exciting and stressful day. Everyone was exhausted, nervous, and yet ready to pour every last ounce of energy and talent into making the State Championship performance the best it could be. The emotions of the day started early with students reflecting that for our seniors this will be their last competition and the last time any of the band members will perform the show that they worked on for so very long. Their focus during warm up was unwavering and it was very apparent they were ready to take the field. The energy in the stadium lit up as we entered the filed. That excitement energizes the band and staff. There was no doubt Ninety Six brought a huge following to cheer on the Wildcats. I was overwhelmed by the ovations before during and after our performance.
You and your staff stand behind the band as they begin announcing the results at State. What is running through your head during that time?
Vickery: “Awards are hard for me and everyone involved. I stand there and reflect on the countless hours every band program on the field has poured in to this season. Before I knew it they are announcing the top 5 placements. 5th and 4th tick by without a problem. The 3rd placement announcement verified that the top two slots belonged to the reigning upper and lower state champions Ninety Six and Chesterfield. The stadium grew deafeningly quiet as the MC comes on the stadium loud speaker to announce the runner up. Everyone strains to hear the first syllable of the band's name. My mind bounced both names back and forth and the emotions of each result destroyed my nerves. Chesterfield rings from the announcer’s lips which solidified Ninety Six as the reining three peat state champion. At that moment, the entire 9 month journey came crashing down upon myself and everyone involved. Tears welled in my eyes as well as nearly every member of the band as the emotions came pouring out. They are welling up as I write this reflection. The time for work is over for this competitive season and now we can truly enjoy the rewards of our hard work. Well done Wildcats! I'm beyond proud of every one of them.”
Congratulations to everyone involved in the NS Marching Band on their very successful program at Ninety Six High School. I’m sure GwdToday speaks for many when we say this, we can’t wait to see what next year’s show will be.