ELIZABETHTON — The Betsy Band of Elizabethton High School has done it again.
The band took top honors in nearly every category and won the Tennessee State Division II Championship on Saturday night in Nashville. It was the second championship in three years for the band.
The band clinched the championship with a performance in the final round Betsy Band Director Perry Elliott called “the best performance I have seen from the band in the 22 years I have been here.”
It was such an impressive performance that the band was able to climb above their long-rivals, Page High School, to grab the championship. For the past seven years the two schools have battled each other in the greatest band rivalry in the state. Five times Page has won the competition and been proclaimed state champions. Now, Elizabethton has beaten Page twice to win the state championship. Last year the competition was especially fierce with Elizabethton, Page and one other former state champion band all finishing within eight-tenths of a point, with Page finishing on top.
After the first round this year, it looked like Page might have been on track for another championship. Perry said Page led Elizabethton after the preliminary round. It was obvious both Page and Elizabethton would be pulling out all the stops in the final round, but it did not look like the schools would have the opportunity. A storm passed through the region, and a funnel cloud touched down in a nearby county. Elliott inspired his musicians by telling them it was not a tornado, it was a cyclone, which is the mascot of the school.
When the storm finally subsided, Elizabethton created another storm with their best performance in 22 years, coming from behind to blow by Page with an incredible 1.4 winning margin.
In addition to being named the best band and taking home the traveling Governor’s Cup for the year, Elizabethton also won top honors for color guard and took home a beautiful traveling silver platter for the year. The band’s drum major, Katie Pless, won first place in the drum major competition. The band was voted the most entertaining and tied for first place in marching. They finished second in percussion. Band supporter Maryanne Quintero said the individual band members also received 133 gold medals to wear around their necks.
“It was awesome. We worked really hard,” said color guard member Emily Dugger.
Elliott agreed, saying the band worked hard and was very disciplined. He added that he had valuable assistance from Chris Lockhart, director of the T.A. Dugger Jr. High Band.
The parents of the band members also demonstrated strong support and won their own award on Saturday, the Spirit Award for the group with the most spirit.