WEST JEFFERSON — The Ashe County High School Husky Vanguard Marching Band performed at five competitions in recent months, earning a superior rating in every one, according to ACHS Director of Bands Paula Carlton.
In addition, the band earned three first place rankings overall, two second place rankings and one grand champion ranking for the entire competition at Maiden High School.
Carlton said work for marching season actually starts during the summer with several non-required rehearsals held in June and July to get the music started. During this past summer, the band’s drum majors attended a camp in Maryland held by the DCI Band, Phantom Regiment, and several other band members attended camps at Western Carolina, Appalachian State and Lenoir-Rhyne universities.
A pre-camp was held at the high school for new marchers, percussion players and color guard starting on Aug. 1. Carlton worked alongside student leaders to get these students ready for the full camp the following week.
All members of the Vanguard started working at the full band camp that went from Aug. 5-9 and evening camp from Aug. 13-15. During this time, students learn to march the created drill along with the music for the field show, and the color guard starts to learn the equipment routine as well.
After the school year started, every Thursday evening after school was a required practice along with their regular class rehearsals every school day.
According to Carlton, the Band Booster organization has been very active this year, helping set up and break down props and equipment used in the field show, as well as feeding the students prior to performances and being the best fans everywhere we went.
Two students were also accepted into the Macy’s All-American Band in New York, and three seniors have been awarded scholarships through the upcoming Charlotte Parade.
The Vanguard is currently getting ready for holiday parade season, which includes West Jefferson on Nov. 16, Charlotte on Nov. 28 and Taylorsville on Dec. 7. The Holiday Concert on Dec. 8 will be free to the public in the ACHS auditorium, starting at 2 p.m. In April 2020, the band will travel to perform in New Orleans.