EHS Betsy Band places second at state

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, November 4, 2014


The Elizabethton High School Betsy Band placed second at this year’s state competition and returned home to a champion’s welcome at EHS Sunday afternoon.
Dozens of band supporters lined the school’s driveway and parking lot carrying posters, balloons and noisemakers to greet the students when they came back home after competing in the Tennessee State Division II Marching Band Competition in Smyrna on Saturday.
The band earned a 2nd place overall award for their show “To Build a Wall,” focusing on the Vietnam Memorial Wall and Vietnam veterans. The band also earned final awards of 1st place for drum major, 2nd place for color guard and 3rd place for drum line. The EHS Betsy Band fans also received 1st place for greatest fan support during the competition. During preliminaries, the EHS band won 1st place for color guard and drum major.
The EHS band won the state championship in 2013, 2012 and 2010. In 2011, the band placed third with less than a point separating the top three teams.
EHS Drum Major Hannah Manuel took 1st with a score of 99 for her drum major, the highest score of any drum major from EHS.
“It’s kind of surreal right now,” Manuel said Sunday. “I had hoped for it and worked really hard. I guess all the hard work paid off.”
Manuel practiced on a regular basis and met with EHS Band Director Perry Elliott every Wednesday to go over the routine.
In last year’s state competition, Manuel earned a 4th place award. Manuel has also served as drum major for the EHS band for two years, winning her first term as the band leader during her junior year.
For Manuel, it was bittersweet to take the field at the state competition knowing that it would be her last with the EHS band.
“It was hard, of course,” she said. “In the finals, the band was ready to play. Everything was electric. We were full of energy and enjoyed every minute of it.”
The EHS band was one of over 20 bands to participate in the state competition. The top 10 bands moved past the preliminary round to compete in the finals.
Because the band was the defending champions, Elliott said the band was able to perform their show last in the final round.
“We did really good,” he said. “We were defeated by our old rivals (Fred J) Page High School. They had an interesting show. It was about 1920s speakeasies, so it was kind of like an ‘apples and oranges’ comparison for the judges. They had two really great band shows on different sides of the continuum.”
Not only was the Betsy Band battling other high schools on the competition field, they were also battling the winter blast that moved through the region on Saturday.
“The competition might have been hot but the weather was cold,” Elliott said. “The buses pulled out from the school at 5 a.m. Saturday. The drivers told us that if we had been 30 minutes later, we wouldn’t have made it over the plateau because of the weather.”
The blustery winds and snow showers didn’t keep the Betsy Band fans at home. The EHS band had the most supporters present at the competition, even though the band came from the farthest away.
The fans’ dedication earned them their own award. The EHS fans were given the first place award for greatest fan support.
“We have the best fans,” Elliott said. “They traveled with us all the way. It was a good day and the students had a good time.”

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