The Dobyns-Bennett High School marching band from Kingsport, Tennessee, won its third grand championship, taking the top prize again at the 14th annual Tournament of Champions held at Western Carolina University on Saturday, Oct. 18.
More than 3,000 young musicians from five states participated in the invitational competition, performing in E.J. Whitmire Stadium before more than 10,000 spectators and a team of expert judges from around the country. The 23 high school bands in the competition were hosted by WCU’s award-winning Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, which will soon travel to New York City to be the lead band in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Dobyns-Bennett also took the Chancellor’s Award, a large glass trophy presented to the grand champion, back home to Tennessee in 2013 and 2007. The band is the only three-time winner of the top honor in the tournament’s long history.
In the finals competition, Green Hope High School of Cary won the North Carolina Roll of Honour, an award presented to a North Carolina band with the highest score in the finals competition. The band also won the L.J. Hancock Best Drum Major and Vic Firth Best Percussion awards. Mill Creek High School of Hoschton, Georgia, won the Don Addis Best Auxiliary Award.
During morning preliminary competition, the bands were divided into three classifications based on the number of musicians and were judged in a variety of categories. The champion from each classification, along with the seven highest-scoring bands not represented as class champion, advanced to the finals competition held in the evening.
The class champions were Class A – Marvin Ridge High School of Waxhaw; Class AA – Summerville (South Carolina) High School; and Class AAA – Dobyns-Bennett High School.
The WCU band won the Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most coveted award for college and university marching bands, in 2009 and performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2011. In April 2013, Macy’s Parade officials surprised the band with an invitation to participate in the 2014 holiday event.