The DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Marching Band earned a Superior ranking Saturday (Sept. 9) at the 40th Annual Upper Cumberland Marching Band Festival. Held at Cumberland County High School in Crossville, the exhibition ranks bands by the categories of superior, excellent, and good. In addition to the band’s overall Superior ranking, the color guard and percussion section were ranked Excellent.
“The guard does a tremendous job,” Band Director Don Whitt said. “We have a very talented leader, Mrs. Shannon Johns, who is doing a phenomenal job. The students are learning how to create and write their own material for the show. They are all very creative students. I am proud for them because of that.
“Because the kids actually wrote the opener, I believe they are more invested in this show,” Color Guard Leader Shannon Johns said. “Each of the color guard members brings their unique, authentic self but also work well as a team. This season is no different in terms of injuries and other time commitments, yet the students have literally put their blood, sweat, and tears in to create something they can call their own. I am very proud of each of them and look forward to seeing them have continued success this season.”
The band’s musical theme Heart and Soul features song selections from 1970s Motown including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “I Want You Back,” and the soon-to-be-added “When A Man Loves a Woman.”
“The main objective for me is the music and the marching for right now,” Director Don Whitt said. “They have to learn how to play in that type of style. They are learning proper breathing technique, how to articulate and communicate the music they play to the audience. I like the familiar sounds that take the audience back to a simpler time. I have heard my parents and family and friends that will cut the old radio up when they hear those classic tunes.”
“We have had a lot of people from our community that have bragged on our students and told me how much that music had touched them. Our students are coming a long way for a small band of about 43 total. We have a lot of things to tweak here and there, however, we are learning to work and play as a team in the entire group.”
In addition to Whitt and Johns, Maxwell Patterson has come on board as the Percussion Director and Assistant Band Director.
The band returns to the practice field to fine tune its show for Homecoming this week and for future contests this season.
“This week they will be putting on the drill and learning that style of music,” Whitt said. “Secondly, they will have to put some different things in that will enhance the show. I think we are off to a pretty good start for this to be our first competition of the season.”
The band’s next competition will be at the Yellow Jacket Invitations in Trousdale County on September 30.