Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Knights Band
On Saturday, November 7th at Cabell Midland High School, the Tyler Consolidated High School Band finally got the chance to showcase the culmination of months of hard work and dedication during the 9th Annual West Virginia Marching Band Invitational. Overall, the band was named 2nd Runner-Up Grand Champions, bested only by Philip Barbour High School and Cabell Midland High School. The Knights band finished a mere two-tenths of a point behind the Colts from Philip Barbour. In Class B, the Knights Band earned 1st place, ahead of Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, and Spring Valley (class is determined by the size of the band). In addition, the Knights drumline and percussion finished 3rd overall behind Parkersburg and Cabell Midland. PHS only placed five-hundredths of a point ahead of TCHS.
The Knights Band has been practicing since July 1st and due to the pandemic, has had to overcome a lot of obstacles and disappointments as they strove to continue their tradition excellence. TCHS Band director Matt Jennings remarked, “You’d never know there was a pandemic going on by watching them rehearse and perform. These kids worked as hard if not harder than any group I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. It is a shame that more people didn’t get to see this fantastic group this year, but we are very grateful for the performance opportunities we did get.”
The band lost a lot of performances this year. There was no fair, no away football game trips, no parades, no Oil and Gas Festival, and no competitions that the band traditional attends, usually beginning the first Saturday in October. However, Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner for the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History worked tirelessly to put together a series of performances and competitions. In all, the TCHS Band participated in all five that were offered.
The band was filmed at Tyler Consolidated for four of these and these recordings were then submitted for adjudication. This performance series included two virtual performances in which judges critiqued the band with comments only (no rating or scoring), and one virtual performance in which the band received a rating based on the quality of their performance (the Knights Band received a I or a “superior” rating, the highest a group can receive).
On October 31st, Jennings submitted a fourth recording of the band. The difference in this performance was that the band was finally judged competitively.
The band received scores and placement in all of the traditional captions of judging: Music, Marching, General Effect, Percussion, Field Commander, and Color Guard. In this competition the band placed very well, winning their class and finishing third overall behind AAA bands from Jefferson High School and Cabell Midland High School.
Then came the big day. On Saturday November 7th, the band finally got to board busses (for the first time this season) and travel to Ona, West Virginia for an in-person competition at Cabell Midland High School. Jennings remarked, “I am so thrilled that the kids got to go to this competition. Just days before I was thinking, ‘Are we really going to get to go to this?’ I am extremely grateful to Randall Reid-Smith for going out of his way to organize these performances. Without his commitment to the arts and his dedication to the kids, this never would have happened.” At Cabell Midland, the Knights Band outscored some fantastic AAA Bands from Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Spring Valley and Musselman. “It is remarkable that this band competes so well against bands from schools whose enrollment is three to four times that of Tyler Consolidated,” said Jennings.
Jennings concluded by saying, “I would like to take the opportunity to thank our amazing band staff, boosters, and parents. Without their support, these opportunities would not have happened. Marching band could have just been one more disappointment among many that these kids have faced.” Knights Band Staff include: Sally Conklin, Brian Bailey, Anna Carpenter, Toni VanCamp, and Kristen Wince.
2020 Tyler Consolidated High School Marching Band members include: Abigail Ebert, Hailey Tanner (Piccolo); Madeline Cecil, Hayden Montgomery, Trevor Wise, Sunshine Murphy (Flute); Maddie Ice, Dakota Jones, Autumn Shepherd, Aislinn Franks (Clarinet); Grace Howell, Sydney Deaton, Ava Gorrell (Alto Saxophone); Carlee Dye, Katie Ash (Tenor Saxophone); Jeremiah Boley, Jarrett Ice, Shauna Riggs, Emily Gorby, Kaci Shanabarger, Rulena Dudley, Aiden Swan, Luke Deaton, Selene Holcomb, Abby Stanaland (Trumpet); Makenzie Hakes, Analeigh Hakes (Mellophone); Ayden Hoover, Jesse Griffith, Peyton Hayes, Abbi Kimble, Kaylee Haught, Caramia McCoy (Trombone); Jason Stanaland (Baritone); Matthew Riddle, Kellen Franks, Harley Yeater (Tuba); Isaac Melvin (Quads); Garrett Freeland, Zayd Al-Janaby (Snare); Cooper Clayton, Elias Haught, Trenton Webster (Bass Drum); Brandon Dye, Emily Fetty, Wyatt Hakes, Ryland Henderson, Samantha Stanaland (Auxiliary Percussion); Sydney Smith, Addison Fletcher, Isabella Michael, Layla Williamson, Allie Wince (Color Guard); Savannah Ferrell (Field Commander)