By Ashley Rader
The Betsy Band will take its 2013 “Our Town” show on the road to Independence High School on Nov. 2 in hopes of winning its third state championship in four years.
The band won the championship in 2012 and 2010, and finished third in 2011 in a particularly tight contest with just 8/10 of a point between them and the first place finisher.
EHS Band Director Perry Elliott said the band expects a strong competition again this year because the same cast of characters will be competing for the band title once again. EHS’ previous rivals Page High School, from Franklin, and Gibson County High School will be returning among many other high schools from around the state.
“Starting from the first contest, everything has been to prepare for state,” Elliott said. “Last week at the competition at Maryville, we did everything the same as if we would do it at state. We are trying to prepare ourselves to lead up to the competition.”
Pacing is important for the students, who will leave for the competition in Thompson’s Station, Tenn., located a little south of Nashville, at 5 a.m. on Nov. 2.
“That means the kids are getting up at around 4 a.m.,” Elliott said. “We don’t compete for the first time until 3:45 p.m. So the big thing really is pacing ourselves and being ready mentally.”
The students are encouraged to sleep on the bus on the way to the competition, and quiet-time rules are in effect. Elliott said they are only allowed to listen to music using headphones and no movies are allowed until later in the day.
Once the band arrives at the competition, the students know it is time to get down to business.
The preliminary performance will be at 3:45 p.m., and if the band places in one of the top 10 spots they will play again later that night.
“From the time they step off the bus at the competition, they are in competition mode,” Elliott said. “They stay in competition mode until they get back on the bus when it is over.”