Betsy Band hauls in top honors at recent competition

Published 7:56 am Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It is a new year, but same story, for a select amount of students from Elizabethton High School.
Kicking off the fall competition season on the right note, the Betsy Band came away victorious during the recent seventh annual John Battle Marching Invitational held in Bristol, Virginia.
Competing against 10 groups with a majority of Virginia high schools, EHS came away with multiple accolades, including being named the Grand Champion for Large Division and receiving the McDonald’s Cynthia Roberts Memorial Grand Champion trophy for best overall performance.
“I thought our students did a very wonderful job during the competition,” said Betsy Band Director Perry Elliott. “To this moment, it was the best our band has performed. I couldn’t be prouder of their effort.”
Taking a page out of Rod Stewart’s playlist from the 1970s, there’s year performance, titled “People Get Ready, There’s A Train A-Coming,”
According to Elliott, the “train” of the performance serves as a metaphor for life as the unique set gives students a chance to provided soulful tunes to the crowd. A change to this year’s production includes more train-based sounds and the addition of a singer, Jared Erwin.
And the soulful tunes apparently boded well with judges. The Cyclones came away with first place finishes in Class 5A for drum major; a position held by Jake Hensley, percussion and color guard and first place over in 5A. Betsy Band also received a superior rating for class 5A.
Even though Virginia was the site of the band’s first fall competition, the months prior didn’t provide any slow spots for the program.
Betsy Band members joined Oak Ridge High School for a patriotic performance during halftime of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and University of Massachusetts football game on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Neyland Stadium with the award-winning UTK Pride of the Southland Marching Band.
Carrying over the momentum from last year, the defending Division II state champions capped by the halftime show with both bands with a version of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless The USA,”
It was a fun experience for the students, Elliott said, but added it proved to be a little bit of a hectic preparation process.
“We were pulling double, preparing for our special performance at Neyland and the start of the fall competition season,” Elliott said. “Our senior and junior class have really stepped into a leadership role this year and helped us get to the point of being prepared for both competitions.”
Moving forward the band will shift focus to the upcoming Hilltopper Invitational set for Saturday, Oct. 28, at Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City. Elliott added the competition will be the last of the fall season as state competition await the first week of November.
EHS’ award-winning march will also continue performing throughout the remainder of the high school football season for the Cyclones.
Community members still have opportunities to support the band in different ways, from attending competitions to donating to assist the program’s ability to provide scholarships.
For more information, visit the Betsy Band Facebook page online.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox