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PCHS Golden Cougar Marching Band receives top awards

DSCN3534Saturday, Oct. 12, the PCHS Golden Cougar Band brought home nine trophies from the George Wythe Band Festival to add to the seven they were awarded Oct. 5 in Princeton Senior High School’s Southern Thunder Band Invitational. 

At Southern Thunder, the band took home the following awards:  first place class AAA, percussion; firstplace class AAA, drum major; first place class AAA, band; third place class AAA, color guard; overall marching performance, out of 13 bands; overall music performance, out of 13 bands, and first runner up in Division II, grand champion.

At GW Band Festival, the band was awarded second place class AAAA, field commander (drum major); first place class AAAA, visual ensemble (color guard); first place class AAAA, percussion (highest score of the day); first place class AAAA, music; first place class AAAA, marching; first place class AAAA, general effect; first place class AAAA, division award – rating of superior, and band of the day, class AAA/AAAA.

Marching season started earlier than usual with the band’s participation in the National Independence Day Parade in July and resumed when band camp started a few weeks later. Several new members of the band are still middle school students, who were invited to participate in the parade. Most of them hung in through the rigors of camp and rehearsals of at least twice a week since then. Even during the school year, the band members rehearse their field show two evenings a week and play pregame shows, stand tunes and their field show “13” for halftime at the Cougar football games. The band has also performed for the opening convocation of the 2013-2014 school year and the Investments in Learning assembly earlier in October.

The show this year was named for their 13th Virginia Honor Band recognition earned last year with Superior ratings in both Marching and Concert Assessments for the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association. The show features images generally associated with bad luck (ladders, broken mirror, black cats and the number “13”), but so far the year has been quite a lucky one for the band and their new director, Dan Wilner.  Mr. Wilner comes to Pulaski County High School from Chilhowie in Smyth County, where he served as Director of Bands for the Middle and High schools from 2007-2013. Wilner has also served as director of bands for Staunton River Middle School in Moneta, assistant band director for Staunton River High and director of bands at Liberty High School in Bedford.

The PCHS Band staff, boosters and the Golden Cougar Band will host the VBODA West Marching Assessment at Dobson Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19 beginning at noon. Sixteen bands will perform for adjudicators for ratings for the first of the two scores that combine to earn a band the Honor Band recognition for the school year.  Several area businesses this year have joined to sponsor the purchase of a new equipment trailer. The boosters busily fundraise throughout the year to help students with travel expenses, purchase music and equipment for the band. The VBODA Assessment is one of the larger fund raisers for the band and our area receives compliments from the visiting bands and their spectators for hospitality, professionalism and an ideal venue.

The boosters next hope to help the band purchase new uniforms for the 2014-15 season. Designs have been solicited and estimates are close to $50,000 to outfit the band and allow for growth in the organization. The band’s current uniforms are 10 years old, and while they have served the Pride of Pulaski County well for the decade of use, there are obvious signs of wear and tear.

The band will be performing Oct. 26 in Charlotte, N.C. at the Ardrey Kell Mighty Knight Invitational and Nov. 2 at the 55th Annual Cary (N.C.) Band Day.  If the band’s luck continues, a new trophy case may also be in order.