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The Sequoyah band marches its way to a grand championship

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After school every day the sounds of Sequoyah’s marching band can be heard all around Hickory Flat. Among the students practicing their music and formations are senior; Ally Bethke, juniors; Zoe Conelli and Lily Dunlop, and sophomore Jaylissa Oneil. The Sequoyah “Band of Chiefs” won the overall grand champion out eighteen bands at the Blue Ridge Marching Contest. The band has worked and sacrificed their time to create a product for the fans on Friday night and to win competitions.

“There is so much time that goes into marching band, I don’t think people realize, except for the fact that they have to move their cars every day after school, how much time goes into marching band. We practice every day of the week except for Wednesday. We have games every Friday, and we get home at ten o’clock if it’s a home game and 1 a.m. if it’s an away game,” said Bethke.

This band has a different dynamic because of its size which is approximately 150 members. This provided some challenges, but also allowed them to be more unique and diverse.

“Having such a large band made it difficult to connect with everybody because you end up only talking to people who have the same instrument as you or are in the same grade, so it is really hard to connect with other people. But a thing that helps is that everybody is unique in their own way, and everybody brings something to the table. Everyone came in with an idea of what they wanted to do with their own ideas and talents. Having that many people and hard workers really elevated our band,” said Bethke.

The band has provided many students with place where they can find other like-minded individuals.

“I moved to this area last year, and I didn’t really have a lot of friends and band really helped with that,” said Oneil.

The preparation, talent, dedication, and sacrifice can be shown through the accolades that the band has received this year.

“Our first competition we got fourth, are second we got grand champs which was really good, this last competition was my last competition ever where we came in second overall,” said Bethke.

Winning the grand championship was a great feeling for the entire band. It was a great teaching moment for the members of the band because it allowed to learn what it takes to win championships.

“Winning the grand championship made me realize that hard work beats talent any day. As we were storming onto the field once they announced that had won, it was such a big sense of accomplishment I couldn’t even put it to words,” said Connelli

Although winning is a large part of the motivation the band continues to practice, they still remember to enjoy being in each other’s presence.

“I’d say that we work very hard, and practice all the time,” Oneil said, “but we don’t make competitions only about winning or losing, it’s really about the experiences and fun memories we make together.”

The band celebrates its grand championship win by surrounding their trophy. The was the band’s first time placing winning the whole championship. Photo provided by Lily Dunlop.

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