Story and Photos by Jordan Reining | Contributing Writer
Middle Tennessee State University’s Band of Blue hosted the 59th annual Contest of Champions (COC) on Saturday, Oct. 29th in Floyd Stadium.
COC is the longest running marching band competition in the country.
Band of Blue runs the competition, with members working in shifts to ensure the day goes smoothly.
High school bands from around the region travel to compete in the preliminary event in hopes of making it to the finals.
Molly Moore, a sophomore in the Band of Blue, has been in the band since freshman year. During her shift, she was tasked with stamping the high school band members as they walked through the stadium gates after their performances.
“I love seeing all the bands,” Moore said, “Seeing all of them come together to see all the hard work they’ve done.”
The competition was an all-day affair, and music could be heard ringing around the stadium throughout it all.
For each performance a band has, months of work are put into it.
Briana Vogt, a director of the Franklin High School Marching Band, recently back from maternity leave, was able to witness the band’s hard work.
“Our band has been working since the end of May to learn the show,” said Vogt, “Music, drill, visuals, color guard work, and our parents have been working nonstop just to build props.”
The Franklin band moved on from the preliminary event and played again in a final’s performance.
Contest of Champions is not just for high school bands. The Band of Blue gives two exhibition performances throughout the day.
The first was after all the competing bands had finished their first performances of the day, with the band running to the tune of “Thriller” from the tunnels decked out in costumes.
“I personally love our show this year because it is really funky and awesome,” said Moore.
The second was after the finalists finished their performances. This time, the Band of Blue came onto the field in full uniform.
Loud and proud, the band kept the audience hooked. High notes and melodies were noticed and applauded by the high schoolers.
“Performing in front of audiences who are paying attention to every little detail that they’re putting on- I think its huge,” Vogt said.
The director was excited for her students to see other bands and have others see them.
The excitement was noticeable as Band of Blue drum major Cameron Wilson conducted at his last Contest of Champions. The 5th year was dressed as ‘Dr. Strange’ during the first performance and loved being able to hype up the crowd.
“I think the best moment of the day was right when we were wheeled out on the podium for exhibition performance, and I just got to strut my stuff and do what I love- that was the best thing,” said Wilson.
The final award ceremony lasted almost 30 minutes, with all the bands arranged on the field. The Ravenwood High School band got first place, with Franklin High School coming in second.
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