The George Rogers Clark High School Marching Band is in pursuit of a state title, and the journey begins this weekend at the Kentucky Music Educators Association competition quarterfinals in Mount Sterling.
GRC will perform its 2012 routine, “In Pursuit,” a program director Chris Yoo has called challenging and a work in progress.
“I feel like we are ready. We’re as good as we can get right now,” Yoo said of his young squad.
Since Yoo was hired in 2010, he has stressed the importance of demanding excellence from students, pushing them to achieve their best.
“It can be difficult at times, because you don’t always win, but it definitely teaches our students a lot of valuable lessons because you don’t always win in life,”¿Yoo said after his band was named Overall Reserve Grand Champion at the North Laurel Invitational in September.
This weekend’s competition will be at Montgomery County High School. GRC will face 11 other 5A schools from the East Region, with the top 8 advancing to the semi-finals and finals Oct. 27 at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.
GRC¿will perform at 7 p.m., the eighth band of the day.
“Our region is just so hard. Everybody is so good this season. Groups that have been down a little in the past are performing really well this year. But I would still put us right in the middle of the pack,” Yoo said.
“If we were performing in the 5A West region this year we would be in the top two pretty easy, so that tells you how hard our region is this year.”
Next weekend’s competition begins at 11 a.m. at L.T. Smith Stadium, though individual performance times will not be announced until after the quarterfinals. Competition concludes at 10:45 p.m. CDT.
GRC has a history of qualifying for state competition and Yoo said he would like to add to that this year.
“We hope to continue our streak of state’s but this has been the hardest year for our region,” Yoo said.
Previous competitions this year include the Viking Classic at Rowan County High School, where GRC earned the Best Overall Music Award, Best Overall General Effect and Best Overall Color Guard; the Morehead State University Blue and Gold Marching Band Competition, finishing ninth overall; and the Pulaski County Invitational, finishing seventh overall.
As an extra motivational tool, Yoo brought in nationally known teacher Dale Warren from the University of Arkansas to work with his band.
“I think practicing with him this week has really motivated our kids, I consider him one of the best teachers in the country, so it was a bonus for us to be able to bring him in here to work with our kids,” Yoo said. “We’re hoping it will give us a little extra spark this week.”
For more information on the state competition, visit www.kmea.org.