High school band heading to national championship

By Douglas McCulloch | Nov 07, 2017

After a record-setting weekend, the Dartmouth High marching band and color guard is gearing up for its big national competition in New Jersey.

The band performed in the US Bands New England Regional Championships on November 4, scoring a 95.325 in the preliminary round and secured a first place division win with 96.713 points.

But Dartmouth’s record-setting win came a day later at the New England Scholastic Band Association's championships in Lawrence. Dartmouth High finished in first place with a 99.1 score, setting a new band record

“That’s the highest score I can remember,” noted Band Director Bill Kingsland.

Now, the color guard and marching band will head to New Jersey for the USBands National Championships, slated for November 11 at Metlife Stadium.

The season has been mixed, with marked improvement towards the most recent events. Results began in the mid 70s and 80s for the first few competitions, but Kingsland said around the time of the band’s October 21 competition in Somerset, scores began rapidly improving and began hitting the 90s consistently.

Results over the past few weeks were key in securing a coveted final performance time in the national championship. It’s an advantageous position because it will be the final show judges will see before scoring.

“It’s human nature in that it’s the last thing [the judges] will see,” Kingsland said. “Everyone wants to get as close to last as they can.”

Last year, Dartmouth High competed several acts before the end of the national competition and still picked up first place. This year, Kingsland aims to work on the band’s movement and coordination ahead of the big day.

“We do fast tempos and it’s more challenging for the kids but it gets you better numbers,” Kingsland said.

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