S.C. band wins WCU contest; Hickory Ridge earns ‘Roll of Honour’

The White Knoll High School marching band from Lexington, S.C., was named grand champion at the 12th annual Tournament of Champions, an invitational competition held at Western Carolina University on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Hickory Ridge High School of Harrisburg 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 annual 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-one bands from four 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.

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, during the morning preliminary competition. 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 – North Henderson High School from Hendersonville; Class AA – Kell High School from Marietta, Ga.; and Class AAA – White Knoll High School.

Also advancing to the finals competition were Hickory Ridge; Mill Creek of Claremont; Cary; North Buncombe of Weaverville; Hardin Valley Academy of Knoxville, Tenn.; Dorman of Roebuck, S.C.; and Wakefield of Raleigh.

Bands were evaluated by six expert judges from across the United States who consider how well each band plays, marches and entertains the audience, while additional adjudicators rank drum lines, drum majors and auxiliary units.