Cougars earn personal best at nationals
By JOHN WIDNER
Special to The SWT
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – It all began in the summer, practicing from sunup to sundown in the heat, perfecting each note, step and formation – preparing for the moment the band would represent the cardinal and gold at the United States Bands National Championships in Annapolis, Md.
The band’s hard work and determination paid off as the Golden Cougar Marching Band went away with a personal best in competition and placing 13th in Class 4A competition.
“To reach the level we were able to this year, students worked throughout the summer learning the music and working on their technique. They had a full week of band camp where they practiced from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. We had our band camp at the high school where they put together and learned most of their competitive show,” said Patrick Butler, Pulaski County High School band director.
He added since camp, the band continued to rehearse two hours twice a week, improving their competitive show, learning pre-game formations and music, practicing stands tunes for football games, and preparing for the community’s annual parades.
On Nov. 10, the 74-member pride of Pulaski County, stepped onto the green at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. The band scored high marks in Visual Performance, Overall Effect and Ensemble Music. The marching band placed 13th in Class 4A and received its highest score in USBands and USSBA competition.
The Cougars typically compete in Class 3A, but because of conflicts, the Class 3A site was moved to New Jersey at the last minute – a move that would have cost the band a pretty penny. However, competition officials allowed the Cougars to move up a class where PCHS competed with the larger bands in Class 4A.
The Band Boosters helped pay for the competition and provide snacks for the students through fundraising efforts. Each student had to raise $95, which was accomplished through a pasta fundraiser.
Those who had difficulty raising the money received a helping hand from the Boosters.
“PCHS has a great community that supports the band program all year long in attending concerts and supporting our fundraisers,” Butler said.
On Sunday after the performance, students attended the National Air and Space Museum at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. The center houses many large aircraft including the Enola Gay, a Lockeed SR-71A Blackbird and the Space Shuttle Discovery.
The Cougars have performed over 20 times at competitions, football games, parades and other public events this fall. Butler can be nothing but proud of his students.
“The band did a wonderful job. I am real proud of their accomplishments so far this year,” he said.