Strong community turnout for ‘Betsy Band sendoff

Published 4:54 pm Friday, November 5, 2021


On Thursday night with temperatures hovering in the upper 30s, the Betsy Band had one last opportunity to give the community a glimpse of their state competition performance.

Despite the chilly conditions, more than 2,000 people gathered in Citizens Bank Stadium for the eight-minute show and to send their best wishes with the band.

“This is just unbelievable,” Elizabethton principal Dr. Jon Minton said as the crowd kept streaming in. “It just shows two things: how much the community supports the students of EHS and how much they love this band program.”

Band director Jonathan Valentine thanked the community for their support along with the administration, which helped the band secure their new uniforms this season and will spend $40,000 on new instruments that will be arriving in the spring.

Valentine, in his first year as the director, said that all he could do was “giggle and laugh a little” when he came in and saw the response of the community.

“I knew there was a possibility for this type of turnout with the love this community has for this band but this is overwhelming,” Valentine said after the performance. “They have been working so hard and I am so excited to see them perform.

“This is why I took this job because I knew how awesome it would be to have a community that loved a band program so much.”

Letters for jackets were presented before the performance to students who had been in the band for three years.

At the end of the performance, the band had little time to socialize as it was off to pack up instruments and everything needed for the state competition.

The band will compete against 19 other schools at the state competition at Stewart’s Creek High School in Smyrna on Saturday.

All photos by Ivan Sanders.