Marching bands represented city well

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 9, 2005

Nansemond River’s band was more than I had bargained for

I have always been fascinated by high school and college bands and for the last two weeks have been attending high school football games at King’s Fork High School. The first week I attended to support my great niece, Charnele Banks, who is a sophomore at that school, as she performed with the school’s Air Force ROTC Honor Guard. Last Friday King’s Fork football team played Nansemond River at its homecoming game, and I attended to see Nansemond River High School Band perform because I have always admired their style of marching.

I soon learned from my niece, Charlene Jones, after I arrived at the game that the band would not be coming. She also told me that the reason might be that the band had a heavy schedule on Saturday in the Peanut Festival Parade and after the parade a performance in Norfolk. But, before I could become too disappointed, she told me that they would then be returning to host an annual event, a Marching Warriors Band Day Competition at Nansemond River’s Arrowhead Stadium from 6-10 p.m., also on Saturday.

Email newsletter signup

This 14th annual event was being sponsored by the Nansemond River Band Booster Association. Since the band was from the host school, it could not participate in the competition, but the best was yet to come at the event from the band in spite of that ruling.

I arose early on Saturday to make it across town to see the Peanut Festival Parade. I have family friends, Barbara and Johnnie Ray Artis, who have a granddaughter, Tiffany Jordan, a majorette in Nansemond River’s band, and I wanted to see her strut her stuff.

My sister, Shirley Lee, and I arrived at Arrowhead Stadium about 5:45 p.m. and met a row of yellow school buses bringing in high school bands. We walked pass Nansemond River’s band practicing and all dressed in their black and white and black and red exercise suits, but not their usual uniforms. I guessed that after two performances band members’ uniforms were too sweaty and the director wanted them to feel very comfortable.

Soon after we took our seats, an array of colors of bands in their groups began to enter the stadium. Some bands marched and some walked to seats on the visiting side of the stadium. The program began a little after 6 p.m. with Tyrone Davis serving as program announcer.

There were eight high school bands competing, that included the following: from the Triple A Division-Highland Springs, Huguenot and Norcom; Double A Division-Henrico, Lakeland and Oscar Smith; and from Single A Division-Southampton and Thomas Jefferson. These bands were judged in the following categories: dance, majorette, flag, drum major, percussion, Divisional Categories and The Grand Champion Trophy.

The end results were as follows:

Dance: Third Place, I. C. Norcom; Second Place, Highland Springs; First Place, Henrico. Majorette: Third Place, Huguenot;

Second Place, I.C. Norcom; First Place, Henrico. Flag: Third Place, Highland Springs; Second Place, I.C. Norcom; First Place, Henrico. Drum Major: Third Place, Highland Springs, Second, Place, I.C. Norcom, First Place, Huguenot. Percussion: Third Place, I.C. Norcom, Second, Henrico; First Place, Highland Springs. Divisional Single A: Third Place, Southampton; Second Place, Thomas Jefferson. Divisional Double: Third Place, Lakeland; Second Place, Oscar Smith; First Place, Henrico. Divisional Triple A: Third Place, I.C. Norcom; Second Place, Highland Springs; Third Place, Huguenot. The Grand Champion Trophy was awarded to Henrico High School.

After the competition ended, Nansemond River did their thing in a Field Show Exhibition. However, those who stuck around long enough to see the band march into the school received an extra treat as the percussion and cymbal sections of the band formed lines opposite each other to the entrance of the school. Then they performed extra fancy steps as the remainder of the band fancy-stepped and marched in between the lines and into the school. The band includes 20 seniors who will not be returning next year.

This was more than I had bargained for in a day of performances from the Nansemond River High School Band.

I also want to acknowledge that King’s Fork, Lakeland, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, as well as Nansemond River High School, represented the city of Suffolk well in Saturday’s 28th Annual Peanut Festival Parade.

Evelyn Wall is a retired News-Herald reporter and regular columnist.