The Delaware Hayes Grand Pacer Marching Band recently journeyed to the Bellbrook Fall Invitational competition and came home with second place in its class and best percussion.
This week, during practice ahead of competing in the 18th annual Lebanon Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, the band and percussion section said they are determined to do even better.
“(Second place and best percussion) felt pretty good,” said Michael Lake, a junior who marches tenor drums. “It was our first competition, and it felt good to thrown down on the field.”
Lake said the drumline had a goal this year to get a Best Percussion award at a competition, and he was glad the drumline got what it wanted.
Caleb Richardson, a senior in drumline who also marches tenor drums, said he was glad they got the best percussion at the first competition of the season because of the effect it will have on the newcomers in drumline.
“I’m glad we got (best percussion), because younger people haven’t experienced it yet,” Richardson said. “You set a mentality for the rest of the season.”
Tom Henson, a junior bass drummer, said the award validated the band’s work over the summer.
“It felt great,” he said. “Our hard work over the summer really showed up. It felt awesome.”
Henson said he didn’t feel bad about missing first place, because the first-place winner was just a few points ahead of them.
“I’m excited for next practice,” Henson said. “I know we could do better.”
Band Director Andy Doherty said he was grateful for the awards and the feedback from the competition judges.
“It was great and nice for the band to get recognition for their dedication and focus,” Doherty said. “We got a lot of great feedback from the judges and are implementing changes based on that.”
Dohtery said the band practices as an ensemble, but it also practices in sections to help each other improve for several hours each day of the week.
Evelynn Ream-Monroe, a sophomore who plays tenor saxophone, said her favorite part of the competition wasn’t the awards or recognition; it was seeing the freshman students get into the competition.
“They’re so excited,” Ream-Monroe said.
The competition was a first for Madison Bricker and Ethan Bush, a trumpet player and bass drummer, respectively. Both joined the band this year.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Bricker said. “But great, walking off the field knowing I’d put all my effort into it.”
Bricker said she isn’t nervous about Saturday’s Lebanon competition.
“I feel like we are going to be the best we can be,” she said.
Bush said the awards, particularly best percussion, felt “pretty good,” and they’ve only motivated him more.
“(We’re) definitely not going to slack,” Bush said. “We have stuff to work on. We can’t slack, we have to step it up.”
The band’s performance at Bellbrook can be seen on the Facebook page, Delaware Pacer Bands.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.