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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Truly 'Champions': Cascade marches to state band title

Friday, November 2, 2012

Many hours of work and rehearsal go into a state championship-level performance.
(Submitted photo)
Cascade High School Band, led by David Lucich, lived up to the nickname "Champions," winning the Tennessee Division I State Marching Band Championships held Oct. 27 at Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro.

The band placed first in music and marching and second in percussion, in addition to the overall championship.

It was the second such state championship for the band, the first one coming in 2008. But Lucich pointed out that this year's overall score was 93.7, the highest the school had ever achieved in the competition.

The boat, made by band boosters, helps transport sideline instruments onto the field and ties in with the nautical theme of "Fathoms," the band's competition piece.
(Submitted photo)
A matter of pride

"I was really, really proud of them." said Lucich on Wednesday. "This group, they worked really hard all year. They're probably the most hard-working group that I've had."

The band had previously placed fourth in an Oct. 6 competition in Antioch, and second overall at Glencliff, including first-place awards for its guard and percussion and a first place in its class.

Even more remarkable is that it's a young band, with 36 new members out of 82.

"They just kept getting better every week until the end," said Lucich.

He said that while winning feels good, he tries to stress that the important thing is executing, win or lose, at the highest level possible.

"The fact that the judges saw it our way and put us on top is kind of a bonus."

Goal achieved

"It means a lot," he said. "It shows them that when they put their minds toward a goal they can achieve it."

Lucich said that band helps develop students' work ethic, as well as their creative interaction with others and their teamwork and problem-solving skills.

"We had 82 people out there working towards a common goal," he said.

Parents' part

Director David Lucich assesses the situation.
(Submitted photo)
Also working for that goal was a small army of parents and band boosters.

"There's a lot that goes into having a competitive marching show," said Lucich. "Fund-raising has to be done, flags have to be made, a lot of equipment has to be purchased."

Band parents put in long days when the band is playing at a competition or at a football game, taking care of the behind-the-scenes chores that let the teens focus on the music. According to one band parent, there are some adults that get to the school two hours before the teens are required to be there.

"Theirs is a job that is one that is seen by all," said Angie Bruce, vice president of the Cascade Band Boosters, "but no one really knows the effort and energy that they put into the band."

Construction work

For this year's contest, Cascade performed four movements from "Fathoms" by Adam Wilke and Gilroy P. Gilroy. In keeping with the nautical theme, band parent Chris Cantrell built a set piece resembling a boat to help the "pit dads" carry sideline percussion instruments onto the field.

Other parents make the flags used by the flag corps

It takes practice to perform at a competition level. On the week of the championships, the Caxscade band practiced three hours a day for three days, then performed at the football game on Friday night before traveling to the competition on Saturday.

Much effort

The band's instruments and equipment travel in three trailers, each pulled by a different vehicle, plus an SUV -- and it takes two school buses to transport the band members themselves.

Members of "the pit" perform.
(Submitted photo)
Preparation for a competition includes making sure there are extra shoes, clothes, socks and so on; checking the wheels on the trailers; loading the instruments. The kids have a quick snack before donning their uniforms -- no eating is allowed while in uniform.


During a competition, the band has 15 minutes to set up, perform a 10-minute selection, and clear the field. During the state championships, the band had to go through that routine twice. All of the bands in the competition performed once, and then the top 10 bands were chosen and asked to perform again for a final round of judging.

It made for a long day, from 9 in the morning to 10:30 at night, according to one band parent.

After a competition, of course, uniforms have to be cleaned and made ready, torn flags have to be repaired and on and on.

Many competitors

The band was one of 26 competing in the Division 1 championships. Cascade's band features 51 wind instruments and 14 percussion instruments, with a total of 82 band members.

Lucich's staff includes Heather Robertson, Haley Pimentel, Chad Longshore, Andrew England and George Pokorski.

Bruce said the parents and friends work very hard and take a great deal of pride in the group's success. She noted that after the preliminary round, band directors listen to comments and make last-minute changes.

"With all of this," said Bruce, "it takes a lot to have a 'Champion' band."