‘Standard of Excellence’ at Elizabethton High School’s Betsy Band

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

For many competitive teams, winning is an important goal. For Elizabethton High School’s Betsy Band, however, winning is merely a by-product, a result of the work they have put in, as opposed to the goal.

One can hardly criticize this approach, after all, when the band comes home with another top-three placement in this year’s marching band competition, for the 12th year in a row.

Elizabethton High School’s Betsy Band has been participating in this marching band competition for the past 12 years.

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The band’s director, Perry Elliott, said they have placed in the top three every single year.

“We have won first place four times, third three times, and second five times,” Elliott said.

The Betsy Band recently returned from the Tennessee Division II State Marching Band Championship about two weeks ago, after which they took home their fifth second place win.

“There is a standard set by the band,” he said. “Whether it is a parade, a football game or a championship, the performance of that moment is the most important performance of the year.”

Elliott said they go into every competition anticipating to perform their best, and that winning is just a by-product of what they do.

Elliott said part of their success is the nature of the band itself.

“The band is a microcosm of the whole school,” Elliott said. “We have girls on sports teams and members who are in many different clubs. We have top-quality students.”

The band performs in a variety of events outside the school, including city parades, Christmas concerts and Monday’s Veterans Day event.

Elliott said this is his 28th year serving as band director, one of only nine since the band’s inception in 1938.

“Our band has always had a positive reputation,” he said. “[Winning second place] is a validation of that reputation.”

The Betsy Band recently collaborated with the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s band just last year. After learning UT’s band routines, they performed together at Knoxville’s campus.

As a director, Elliott said he is always striving for the next new idea, and said one of his challenges as a director is deciding what to do about factors you can control and those you cannot.

“You have to learn how to control what you can and let go of what you cannot,” he said.

He said he is grateful for all the support he has received from the school board and the superintendent.

“Without their support, the band would go nowhere,” Elliott said.

For the future, he said they are moving on to their next performance, just like always.

“It is a blue-collar band,” Elliott said. “We come into work every day, and we work hard.”