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GRANT COUNTY MARCHING BAND WINS STATE!

The Grant County High School Marching Band did it right on October 31, 2015, bringing home the Governor's Cup and top "AAAA State Champion" honors from the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) State Marching Band Competition!

The band entered the day's state semi-finals competition at Greenwood High School (Bowling Green), after winning first place in East Regional competition (quarter finals) the previous Saturday.  In semi-finals competition, Grant County faced the state's top 15 AAAA bands, and was among the top four bands advancing for Finals competition later that evening.  

Under the lights of Western Kentucky University's stadium, and in challenging weather, Grant County gave the performance of the year with their show, "Mad World".  Their distinguished performance earned them a score of 89.9, a full half point ahead of their nearest competitor!

This first place victory comes 17 years after GCMB's last state championship, and after several second place finishes in more recent years.  Contratulations, GCMB!  You have made Grant County Schools and your hometown very proud!

The Grant County Marching Band is under the direction of Dr. Timothy Dailey and Mr. Andrew McGrannahan II.

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Grant marches to first place finish!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 7:58 am

 

Bryan Marshall

Staff Writer, Grant County News

Tears of joy and screams of excitement went through the Grant County Marching Band on Oct. 31 after winning the state championship.

After finishing second in five of the last six state finals, Grant brought home the school’s third title from Western Kentucky University at the Kentucky Music Educators Association championship.
GCHS scored 89.9, just ahead of Madisonville-North Hopkins, who scored 89.4.

Anderson County and Hopkinsville finished third and fourth with scores of 89.15 and 88.8, respectively.
“I never knew it would mean this much until it happened,” said senior Cat Sohma. “When they began to announce second place I think everyone braced for them to say “Grant County,” and when it wasn’t that name that came over the loudspeaker, you could feel the entire band almost collapse. All four of the girls in the front started crying. Not in a bad or sad way. In a way that showed complete and utter amazement. I never thought I could help accomplish something so great.”

Standing hand in hand with Sohma during the announcement was fellow senior and saxophonist Brianna Boulware.
“I screamed with my mouth closed, squeezed Cat’s hand and hyperventilated until I cried,” Boulware said. “I was shocked, proud and elated that 17 years of trial and error finally produced a champion and that I got to be apart of that group. I’m so grateful to end my senior year with a band full of people I enjoy being with and an admirable staff who are highly experienced in their field, gave us an incredible machine to bring to life and who believed in and loved us regardless if we acted like we deserved it or not.”

For senior Dylan Tutorow, winning a state title was everything he ever dreamed of.
“The way my body tingled, hearing ‘Class AAAA first place and the Governor’s Cup is awarded to Grant County’ is a feeling I will never forget,” he said.

Grant County finished third in the semifinals earlier in the day but made up enough ground in sometimes pouring rain in the evening to wow the judges.

Dr. Tim Dailey, Grant’s band director, said he felt great about the performance the students gave and the progress that they had made over the last month of the season.  

“I really felt satisfied, like we had all done our jobs and that regardless of score, there was no reason to have any regrets,” Dailey said. “After they announced that we had won, I was so happy for the kids that they had finally been able to break through the second place mentality and see themselves as winners. Even though things were decided by a very small margin in terms of the score, that small edge is a reflection of the determination that the students had and their commitment to pushing all the way to the end of the season.”

Dailey said that this is the first time since coming to Grant County that he felt like he and the students were on the same page from the beginning of the season.  

The student leadership, especially from seniors, was incredible, and as a result, Dailey said he could work on pushing the band to the next level rather than having to unteach bad habits.  

“My first season was less of a ‘season’ and more of a rescue mission,” Dailey said. “Last year was hard on all of the kids who had to learn new marching and playing techniques and had to adjust to my way of doing things. This year was the first time that I was really able to invest in relationships with the students and have fun while we work. That made our reaction on the field even more emotional because we hadn’t just received the highest score, we had pushed each other as a family to reach a level of excellence that was new for all of us.”
On the first day of Spring training in April, Tutorow said every band member told themselves they wanted to be state champions this year.

“We set our minds to it, and never looked back,” he said. “Every day of rehearsal there was a new push, and a new challenge put in front of us and we didn’t let it stop us. The drive we had is what put us on top. All the challenges we were put through this season seemed to be endless, but the love was too strong, the will to succeed was too great to be conquered.”

Sohma agreed that everyone had the same goal.
“That goal wasn’t to win state either,” she said. “It was to beat our show. It was to bring the show to life and perform the best run we could ever imagine under the lights at WKU. If we did that, the rest would take care of itself. The fact that we are a family and we love each other so much is what makes it extra special and I hope the band never forgets that.”

Boulware said this year’s band had the perfect combination of productive veterans, staff and positive leadership that they had not had in awhile.

“Past years have had more of one group than the other or not enough of certain groups that led to so many close calls at state,” she said. “We didn’t let drama or negative attitudes consume us and we always kept the goal of having no regrets after a performance be something we aspired to achieve. We’re much more patient with our rookies this year yet refuse to let them get complacent in their attitudes and effort level. Practicing on and off the field without distractions helped us keep focus and rely on our technique more than we did our spots.”

Dailey believes the win marks a paradigm shift for the band where Grant County can create a new identity for themselves as leaders in the state.

“We have no reason to feel like we are playing catch up or chasing down another group anymore and now the kids will approach each season with a new kind of confidence, knowing that they will set the standard by which everyone else is measured,” he said. “This is an identity that I hope will transfer throughout the school so that as a community we can start to see ourselves as worthy of the reward that comes from consistency and drive.”

As a senior, Sohma said finally winning the state title makes it easier for her to be able to move on next year.
After celebrating on the field and before being ushered home with a parade in Dry Ridge, the band spent the night in Bowling Green where there was more tears and more smiles.
“I cried a lot,” Sohma said. “And I smiled so much that my cheeks actually still hurt from smiling, I’m not even kidding. I hugged every single person in the band and I watched scary movies with my best friends in the hotel room. I basically celebrated by letting everyone in the band know how much I love them and how much I am going to miss them. I am going to ask Dr. Dailey to let me come back next year as a staff member so I can tell all the little rookies the story about our band and what made us great. I want our tradition to continue and I want to be a part of making it continue. I just want them to keep being able to celebrate like we did this year.”

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