The River Bluff Gator Marching Band traveled to Jacksonville, Alabama over the weekend to compete in the prestigious Bands of America Regional Championship at Jacksonville State University.
Drawing the unenviable position of first band to compete, the Gator Band took the field on Saturday morning and gave notice that they were true contenders. The show, dubbed “MiRAge” features difficult music selections and an intricate drill that is quite demanding. Not relying on ornate props nor a style of marching in which students play while still and march while silent, the Gators combine a strong sound, high on musicality, with impressive and precise movements. The Gatorettes provide a stunning visual effect that completes the entire performance with beauty, grace, and precision.
In only their 5th year of existence, the Gator Band went up against some incredibly stiff competition from bands that have highly respected national reputations, another hurdle that is difficult to overcome. Still, when the dust settled after the preliminaries, River Bluff found themselves among the top 10 finishers on the day, placing them in the prized finals round.
Eager to compete again against some of the best bands from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina that day, this time with a packed house in the stands, River Bluff geared up for another performance to take place later that evening. Hurricane Nate had other plans, though, quickly driving into Alabama and threatening severe weather for the night’s performance and the following day’s travel times for bands from all over the region. Organizers understandably ruled on the side of safety and cancelled the Finals competition. Bands received awards based on scoring from the preliminary round.
All in all, it was an amazing experience for the band program, which seems to be creating quite a reputation as a top-tier band not only in South Carolina, but in the region and even nation as well. This is an impressive accomplishment for a 5-year old program.
River Bluff’s Marching Band will compete next Saturday in Blythewood and will follow that up with a trip to the AAAA Lower State Championship at White Knoll High School on October 21st. With a good showing there, the Gators will compete for the AAAA State Championship at Spring Valley High School on October 28th.