Mighty Viking Band Undefeated in Class

Mighty Viking Band Undefeated in Class
Posted on 12/05/2018

The 2018 season was perhaps the Tennessee High School Mighty Viking Band’s finest competition season in many years! Since June, the band has been putting together and perfecting their most elaborate and innovative show to date – Spun to Gold! Spun to Gold was the MVB’s take on the classic fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin – although the character’s name is never mentioned during the show.

“There are clues throughout the show that elude to its theme, but we never come out and say it. We wanted it to ring a bell in the crowd’s minds or even encourage people to research it,” said Band Director David Semones. “The show is also one of the most lengthy marching band shows around. While most bands perform 6 ½ to 7 ½ minutes of music during their show, our band is performing a show with 10 minutes worth of music. This means we have to work harder and more efficiently than many other groups to clean and perfect it,” Semones said.

Picking out a marching band show is sometimes challenging for the band staff. Not only must they pick a show that is competitive, they must also choose one that relates well to non-musicians, one that will challenge the students, one that the students will enjoy working on for many months, and one that will be seen as innovative by the audience and judges alike. When designing a show, the staff first chooses a theme – one which they believe the students and audience will enjoy. Once a theme is chosen, a storyboard rough draft is written out; and then, based on the storyboard, musical selections are chosen. Musical selections are then sent to a music arranger. Once the woodwind and brass arrangements are completed, the percussion staff goes to work on the percussion music. Only after the music is finalized will the rest of the staff begin work on writing out the formations, drill coordination, and color guard routine. It’s an elaborate, time-consuming process. This year’s musical selections were primarily taken from classical music – Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (Baba Yaga), Pachebel’s Canon, and Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights. Mad World, the show’s “popular” piece of music, was also incorporated as part of the musical soundtrack.

This year, the Mighty Viking Band outdid themselves. The band competed at three band festivals -  the Enka ”Land of the Sky” Marching Band Competition on September 29, the Lord Botetourt “Cavalier Classic” on October 20, and the Sullivan Central “Appalachian Classic” Band Festival on October 27. At each competition, the band received first place in every caption, including: Music, Marching/Visual, General Effect, Drum Major, Color Guard, Percussion, and Overall Band! Out of all bands, the MVB was named the Grand Champion at the “Cavalier Classic” and the “Appalachian Classic” for having the highest score of the entire day! At the “Land of the Sky” Marching Band Festival, the band received third place overall. This gave the band a record of 55 wins and only 2 losses for the entire season. They were undefeated in all captions within their class for the entire season.

The band also hosted the 67th Annual “Music in the Castle” Band Festival on October 6. This event always draws a multitude of bands from various states to compete in one of the region’s most prestigious competitions. This year was one of the largest festivals in recent memory with 25 competing bands and three exhibition bands – including the THS Mighty Viking Band, the Vance Jr. Viking Band, and the ETSU Marching Bucs!

Congratulations to the Mighty Viking Band, its booster organization, and the band staff for such a wonderful season! The band would like to thank the administration of Tennessee High School, members of the School Board, Director of Schools Dr. Gary Lilly, and the BTCS Central Office staff for their continued support and encouragement of the Mighty Viking Band, music, and the arts. The drum major for the band is Naomi Letson, and the assistant drum major is Josh Russell. The band staff includes Michael King, Lawrence Rucker, Jacob Stanberry, Brianna Jennings, Aaron Hurley, assistant directors Spencer Finch and the late Laura Richmond, and director of bands David Semones.

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