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Getting in step and tune… ‘Betsy Band working hard to ready for a new year

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
The hot days of summer have not stopped the Elizabethton High School ‘Betsy Band from working both morning and evening in preparation for a new school year as well as a new football season that is just around the corner.

After a season one year ago that saw the band limited to the games it could perform at and its performance season completely erased due to the COVID pandemic, the tradition-rich band is ready to get back out there and show why they were the state champions in 2010, 2012, and 2013 and came close in the years in between.

And along with the pandemic, the ‘Betsy Band is getting acclimated to a fresh face on the bandstand overlooking the practice field as long time band director Perry Elliott officially retired at the end of the 2020 school year and has been replaced with new director Jonathan Valentine who came to the school system from South Carolina.

As new students from T.A. Dugger take the field for the first time as a member of the high school band with a high level of anticipation, so does Valentine who knew what he was facing when he was hired saying, “There is absolutely no ‘Betsy Band in this century without Perry Elliott. Coming off his high mountain of success there are definitely some big shoes to fill.”

That process all began this week as the band students along with the field instructors have been working on getting their timing and positioning correct in Valentine’s new system while also working on a new show for the 2021 season.

Students have hit the practice field both during the morning hours and then return in the evening as time is swiftly approaching the beginning of the school year and football season which kicks off on August 20 on the road at Science Hill.

Many do not realize the time that is actually put into putting on a brief show during halftime of a football game, but the members of the ‘Betsy Band take pride in being able to support their team and represent the high school throughout the year.

The band boosters have been working hard to obtain funding to purchase new uniforms so when the ‘Betsy Band takes the field for the first time in 2021 there will be a new look to go along with a new sound that Director Valentine will be bringing but with the same hard work and commitment from the band members.

Everyone is looking forward to seeing the band once again troop the field including the high school administration.

EHS Principal Dr. Jon Minton said last year when Valentine was hired, “One of the most impressive things about Mr. Valentine is that he has the same vision as he has a healthy respect for where we are but he also sees a vision for the future and is willing to say, ‘Hey we are going to step out and recognize who we are and where we are but we are also going to grow and make kids better,’ and that’s what we are all about.”