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Bands of America

By:Logan O’Boyle

The Fort Mill High School band placed fourth in the BOA competition last weekend. Photo courtesy of Josh Herbert

Since 1991, the Fort Mill High School band has competed in the Bands of America Regional Championship, also known as BOA.  This competition sponsors 15 regional championships across the U.S., and this fall was its 35th anniversary. Last Saturday, October 16, our band continued its tradition and traveled to the University of Akron to compete in this crucial competition.

Bands from six different states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, all traveled to Ohio last Saturday in hopes of coming home with a first-place trophy. There were 21 total bands competing in this competition. When they arrived, all of the bands were divided into classes. The classes were based on school enrollment of grades 10-12. Fort Mill’s band competed in the 2A class.

In the past, Fort Mill has competed in a total of 18 BOA Regional Championship competitions, and they have made it to the finals all 18 times. On Saturday morning, the competition kicked off with the morning preliminaries. After the first performance, many band members did not feel as though their performance was as strong as it could have been. However, Fort Mill continued its tradition by placing 3rd in the 2A class division, advancing them to the final rounds. The final competition consisted of the top ten scoring bands, regardless of their class. Out of all the bands that were fortunate enough to move on to the final rounds, none from the 1A or 4A divisions made the cut. “During the evening performance, we had our strongest performance of the year. The band preformed extremely well,” Fort Mill High School’s band director, Mr. Pruitt stated. 

During its performance in the finals, Fort Mill Band received an award for the Best Visual Performance overall and also ended up placing 4th out of the total 21 bands. This fourth place finish is Fort Mill High School’s 14th time placing in the top 5 scores of the Bands of America Regional Championship. “I was really proud of our 4th place finish. The competition was a lot tougher this year than it has been in the past, so I’m proud of our results.” Eric McGuirk, a senior brass caption stated.

With the 22 State Championship titles, the band is one the most respected clubs at Fort Mill High School. This Saturday, Fort Mill will work for yet another State Championship title when they travel to Byrnes High School to compete in the 3A Upper State competition. “I hope to do well this Saturday, so we will have a good competing time at state,” senior trumpet player, Ruthie Marshall, stated. There will be 18 bands Saturday, all battling for a spot in the 3A State Championship. Fort Mill’s score at upper state will determine their performance time at state. If the band wins next Saturday, it will have the advantage to go last at the State Championship, which will be held on October 30 at Batesburg-Leesville High School.

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