The Grand County High School marching band took first place Oct. 6 in a competition in Grand Junction, Colo. The Red Devil band defeated Colorado’s 2A state champions, Delta High School, by one point to bring home the honors.
The win came just a week after the marching band began its competitive season by placing fourth in a competition at Payson, Utah.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, just after performing for the first time at the homecoming game, the Red Devil marching band traveled to Payson to compete in the Nebo band show. Grand was heavily penalized for being one song short of a full show, said band director Don McGuire. But the Red Devils’ solid performance still earned them a place in the rankings, just behind West Jordan, Timpanogos, and Salem Hills.
“Nebo was our first competition, and we were a little incomplete so we were docked for it,” McGuire said. “But it was a perfect day for competition. We did well, and I think we finished where we should have based on what I saw of the other shows… We had some serious holes at Payson, but I think we’ve got the biggest ones plugged at this point.”
McGuire said he believes that the rankings are not necessarily “the best indicator” of what the GCHS marching band is capable of.
“I think the bigger thing, that tells you more about what people think of our music, was how the audience reacted to us,” McGuire said. “We got a standing ovation at Payson... I think that, more than anything else, shows how top-notch this band is. It shows that we’re reaching our audience. More than the placings, that standing ovation is what I feel best about.”
The audience in Colorado also loved the GCHS marching band’s performance, McGuire said, adding that the win over Delta was a very close competition.
“We took first by just one point, so it was very, very close,” he said. “But hey, we beat the defending Colorado state champion.”
During the competitions, the bands are judged in a total of 14 categories, ranging from the color guard performance to music selections and performance. Delta and Grand scored within two points of one another in each category, but in the end, the Red Devils came out on top – and received another standing ovation, according to McGuire.
McGuire said he does not think any one particular aspect or part of the band pushed the team to victory. Rather, it was a full team effort.
“I think everybody loves our entrance and exit, but the thing about marching band is you live and die together,” McGuire said. “There’s no one group that dominates the team to win.”
McGuire also thanked the parents who helped with the band’s production.
“We have almost as many parents involved with this as kids,” he said. “We’ve got parents who haul materials, help set up, who do uniforms, food, drive the kids… if we didn’t have all of their help, we wouldn’t have a show, so we’re incredibly grateful for everything they’ve done.”
The Red Devils are not scheduled to compete again until Oct. 27, when they will travel to Pleasant Grove, Utah to perform. Meanwhile, the musicians will spend the off time polishing their performance.
“We’re really working hard here, and we’re going to be pushing right up until Pleasant Grove,” McGuire said. “Still, our crowds, our at-home and our away crowds have responded so well, and that means more than the placings to me. Our audiences have really responded to our show, and that’s incredibly gratifying.”