The Dobyns-Bennett High School marching band from Kingsport, Tenn., was named grand champion at the 13th annual Tournament of Champions, an invitational competition held at Western Carolina University on Saturday, Oct. 12.
East Lincoln High School of Denver won the North Carolina Roll of Honour, which is awarded annually to the band from North Carolina with the highest score in finals competition.
The Tournament of Champions is an event hosted by Western Carolina’s award-winning Pride of the Mountains Marching Band. Each year, more than 3,000 high school musicians from across the Southeast come to E.J. Whitmire Stadium on the WCU campus to compete.
Twenty-five bands from six states took part in this year’s event. Musicians were competing for various awards, including the prestigious Chancellor’s Award Trophy, a large glass traveling trophy that is presented to the grand champion band.
During the morning preliminary competitions, bands were divided into three classifications based on the number of musicians and judged in a variety of categories, including best color guard, best percussion and best drum major. The champion from each classification, plus the seven highest-scoring bands not represented as class champion, advanced to the nighttime finals.
Class champions were Class A – Adair County High School of Columbia, Ky.; Class AA – Bassett High School of Bassett, Va.; and Class AAA – Dobyns-Bennett High School.
Dobyns-Bennett also won the Vic Firth Outstanding Percussion Award. Cleveland High School of Clayton, N.C., won the Don Addis Outstanding Auxiliary Award. McEachern High School of Powder Springs, Ga., won the L.J. Hancock Outstanding Drum Major Award.
Bands were evaluated by 10 expert judges from across the United States who consider how well each band plays, marches and entertains the audience, with additional rankings for drum lines, drum majors and auxiliary units.
During the event, WCU’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band shared an exhibition performance of its 2013 halftime show “Generation NeXt” featuring the music of Beethoven, Michael Jackson, KISS, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, The Average White Band, Robert Randolph, Florence + the Machine and Skrillex.
The Pride of the Mountains Marching Band was invited in April to be one of only 10 marching bands from across the country to perform in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. In 2009, the band was named recipient of the prestigious Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most-coveted award for college and university marching bands. The band participated in the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif., where it was named best band in the parade in a poll conducted by a Los Angeles television station.