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The LaRue County High School Band of Hawks was named the Class AA State Champion in the Kentucky Music Educator’s Association competition Saturday.
The top 20 bands in five classes competed. The bands are divided into 1A to 5A divisions based on enrollment of schools.
The Band took the field Saturday afternoon on the campus of Greenwood High School in Bowling Green in semifinals. The band placed third behind Washington County (87.8) and reigning champ Glasgow (84.25) in semifinals, with a composite score of 82.5.
The top four bands advanced to finals competition at Western Kentucky University’s L.T. Smith Stadium. The Hawks marched away with the state championship – for the first time since the competition changed formats in 1964.
The Band arrived home early Sunday, escorted by police and firefighters.
“After the semifinal round’s performance, we did not have a strong performance. It was OK but not our best,” said Band Director Jaime Smith. “I knew we had a better performance inside us. With that, I tried to be honest with the kids by saying that I was uncertain as to whether or not we would advance in the top four. When the announcement of finalist bands occurred, we were included. Everyone was ecstatic! From that moment, I decided that we were not looking at our current standing on the recap sheet. So, I told the students that we were simply going in as a finalist with another opportunity to put our best performance on the field – and that’s exactly what they did.”
Smith describes the band’s final performance as “electric and the crowd loved it.”
During the past 26 years, the band has performed in the Final Four six times – a third of which have been within the last four years.
“This was an incredible weekend,” said Smith. “For the first time in school history, the Band of Hawks brought home the top prize in the state. We feel extremely honored with this opportunity. Our success is not the result of one simple season, but rather a culmination of the generations before us who have laid the groundwork in the band program. Mr. (Gene) Hoggard started this band with the expectation of excellence and every director and student has worked hard to continue that legacy. It is a wonderful feeling to represent our community in such fashion.”
Smith credited also his assistant directors: Michael Collins, assistant director, in his third year; John Harris, percussion consultant and instructor, in his 12th year; and Natalie Walker, color guard choreographer and instructor, in her third year.
“The students involved in the Band of Hawks work hard and now see the fruits of their labor,” said Smith. “Many of our parents have worked especially hard this year by building, assembling, moving, loading and transporting props and equipment. They are a huge part of this special moment as well.”
The band will do a public performance 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at the high school football stadium. In case of inclement weather or poor field conditions, the band will perform the music to their 2011 show in an indoor venue on campus.
Special recognition will be given to the Band prior to the start of the LCHS football playoff game Friday.
To send congratulations to the Band, mail to: Band of Hawks, LaRue County High School, 925 S. Lincoln Blvd., Hodgenville, KY 42748.