Berryville Band wins Grand Championship trophy at northwest invitational
-BERRYVILLE -- For the last seven years the Berryville High School Band has competed in the Northwest Arkansas Invitational Marching Contest in Siloam Springs.
The invitational has earned the reputation for being the most competitive marching contest in Arkansas.
As a result, each year director Daniel Hodge and his bands have coveted the championship trophy.
In 2005, Berryville took seventh place and was more than satisfied as a newly competing band against veteran bands like Mountain Home, Fayetteville, Van Buren, and Lake Hamilton.
In recent years, the band has brought home two fourth place and one second place trophies.
After nearly winning the recent contest in Rogers two weeks ago, the band knew first place at Siloam Springs was within reach.
Its hard work and dedication paid off this Saturday in Siloam when in preliminary competition with schools in its class, Berryville won First Place, Best Percussion, and Best Solo (by Emily Sugg, flutist).
Going into finals against 180-member Conway and other strong bands, the young Berryville band had its work cut out for it.
After a strong finals performance won the Best Visual category, the band knew it had a shot at First Place.
As the places were announced from eighth-to-first, with anticipation students and fans held their breath, "... and in third place .... Conway; in second place ... Harrisburg."
The words Hodge and his staff, band and fans had waited so long to hear were finally realized, "The Grand Champion Band of the 2010 Northwest Arkansas Invitational ..... Berryville!"
A huge turnout of Berryville fans joined the entire audience in a standing ovation at the announcement.
Several accomplishments in recent weeks prepared the students for the monumental victory.
As in the past many years, the band again earned the highest scores possible at the ASBOA Region I Marching Assessment in Springdale on Oct. 19.
The 67-member Berryville Band was the only school in its class to earn these accolades, ranking with bands three and four times its size from Rogers, Bentonville, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs, and Springdale.
The pride of Berryville brought home numerous trophies from the premier marching contest in Missouri on Oct. 9.
Held in the Plaster Stadium, the Ozarko Marching Invitational attracts more than 30 bands from the four-state area.
Berryville swept the preliminaries for its class with Best Color Guard, Best Drum Line, Best General Effect, Best Music, and First Place.
In the finals against bands three times its size, Berryville took Best General Effect and in Third Place, only .50 points away from first place Skiatook, Okla.
After a week of dedicated practice and adding more features to the show, the band traveled to Rogers to compete at the War Eagle Marching Classic in Rogers on Oct. 16.
Again, Berryville swept its class in prelims with Best Guard, Best Percussion, Best General Effect, Best Music and First Place.
The band had the third highest score going into finals -- several points behind 170-member Springdale Harber, and three points behind 190-member Siloam Springs bands.
According to Daniel Hodge, head band director, "The kids really stepped it up in finals and nearly finished ahead of Springdale Har-Ber. Har-Ber is amazing this year and I was so proud to compete with them so well. I need to find out what he's feeding them over there and buy a truckload of it."
Berryville soundly passed Siloam Springs and almost caused an upset finishing on .60 points behind Harber.
In addition to the Second Place trophy, Berryville earned Best General Effect and Best Color Guard.
Directors Hodge, Julius Stevens, and Drew Morris are extremely proud of their band and its successful season.
It will perform its award-winning show, "Cymbolic" at the Ronnie Clark Field after the football game this Friday, Nov. 5.
Band booster membership forms and fan T-shirts will be available in the concession stand that evening.
Come out and show support for these hardworking student musicians.