The Jack Robey Junior High School Band of Pride lived up to its name in a May 4 invitation-only competition in Atlanta, Ga., that saw the 75 eighth- and ninth-graders bring home a second-place finish in a field of 15 bands from several states.
Band director Brandon Hughey said that the group had to engage in some last-minute improvisation in response to several unexpected developments during their participation in the Viewers Choice Battle of the Bands at Six Flags Over Georgia.
“First of all, it rained the whole time that we were there,” Hughey said. “The original plan was to march our routine, but because of the rain, we had to play and dance in the bleachers. In addition, we didn’t even get a chance to warm up. The bus the boys were riding on got run into by the monitor who was supposed to be showing us where to park in the Six Flags lot. By the time we joined up with the girls, who were already at the site, it was time for us to perform.”
Hughey said he had just enough time to provide his musical troops with a pep talk prior to taking the stage.
“I gave them a little speech,” Hughey said. “I basically told them to live what is printed on their shirts: ‘I am a soldier; I have pride.’ I told them to have pride in what they are doing.
“Their morale and attitude was pretty awesome considering the conditions and the situation,” Hughey said. “We performed eight numbers, and ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder was a crowd favorite.”
Hughey said he included the Wonder tune because the man himself was originally slated to be a guest judge.
“Because of the weather, Stevie wasn’t there but he sent his saxophone player as one of the five judges,” Hughey said. “We performed in front of an audience of a little over 300 people. The kids had a great time.”
Hughey said that while the rain kept the students from being able to enjoy the rides at the amusement park, an alternative venue was found.
“We ended up going to a mall,” Hughey said.