Princeton Times

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September 19, 2012

Princeton Senior High School band marches to Grand Champion title

PRINCETON — The Princeton Senior High School Tiger Marching Band started its competition season on the right foot last weekend.

In an unusual move, the Tigers’ band signed up to participate in Sept. 15’s Sound in the Valley competition in Spring Valley, and members played, marched and danced their way to  the biggest prize of the day — Grand Champion.

Along the way, the PSHS band also claimed first-place honors in four categories and second place in one, among the bands in Class AAAA. The young musicians brought home first place in Drum Major, Dance Team, Overall Music, Best Marching and Best Overall Band categories, and a second place in the Best Percussion division.

“It’s really kind of early for us to do a competition,” Tiger Marching Band Director Julia Kade said. “We don’t even have our show finished, yet, but everybody else is in the same boat. Their shows aren’t finished either.”

At this point in the season, however, Kade said the recognition meant that the Tiger Band outshined the others in the contest.

“[The judges] just compare the bands, and it’s very good to win. But, you don’t sit on your laurels. You have much more to do,” she said.

Kade’s bands always choose a name or a theme for their half-time and competition shows. This year’s unique moniker is “Pablo’s Love Ride.”

“It’s a little silly. We have a piece titled ‘Prelude and Rondo,’ and we play ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ and a tune named ‘Ride.’ So, instead of Rondo, they picked Pablo and took one word from the other two songs, making it ‘Pablo’s Love Ride,’” Kade said. “It’s kind of corny, but still a bit of a chuckle.”

There are many things that make this band group unique, but the director said she is always impressed with their leadership, commitment and dedication to the band.

“The seniors have really stepped up to the plate this year and are leading. I’ve got two pieces that are Grade 6 concert band music, which means they really should be sitting down playing this. They don’t even have marching band percussion parts, but my drummers, my percussionists, have written their own parts,” Kade said. “Most of my kids live by example. They are models.”

On the field, she said Drum Major Layne Veneri directs with precision and professionalism, which is what she believed appealed to Saturday’s judges. Behind the scenes, however, the senior is much more.

“He does the things an assistant band director should be doing. That’s what all of my drum majors do, and it’s rare that you get those kinds of students with that maturity,” Kade said.

In addition to competing in the Tri-State Marching Band Festival Oct. 20 and the new West Virginia Marching Band Invitational on Nov. 3, the Tigers Marching Band will host their competitors and peers Oct. 14, at the Southern Thunder Marching Band Festival in Princeton.

— Contact Tammie Toler at ttoler@ptonline.net.

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