Below is the Tennessee Division 2 State Championship Winning Performance "Wright to the Moon".
This video was recorded during the 2012 Tennessee Division 2 State Championship. The November 3rd competition was held just outside of Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. As you watch this performance, you may hear some emotional remarks by Band Director Perry Elliott as he watched from the press box near the camera. Director Elliott later stated that in his 22 years this was the best high school performance he had ever witnessed? This is truly a performance of a lifetime. Also enjoy the photos at the bottom of this page.
Elizabethton "Betsy" Band Wins State Championship
The "Betsy" Band traveled to Nashville to compete in the 2012 championship on Saturday (Nov. 3). The 130 piece band left Elizabethton at 5:30 am from the EHS bandroom with expectations and dreams of a state championship. In a Knoxville competition a week earlier, Betsy went up against a large group of bands. Some of the bands competing were in excess of 250 members which is twice the size of the Orange and Black Cyclone band. Elizabethton would brave the cold weather to take first place as well as "Band of the Day" to give the Elizabethton group a big boost of confidence for state competition. In a heart to heart talk that was given in almost total darkness from the practice field podium on a brisk Thursday evening, Band Director Perry Elliott, told his troops how proud he was for all the hard work that had been put into the season. In his emotional address, he explained that they were not headed to Nashville to win a state championship since the winner would be decided by a small handful of judges. The goal was to perform with passion and to leave it all on the field. Mr. Elliott instructed his students that as soon as they stepped off of the buses, the performance began. They were to represent their school and their city with class and poise....and that is just what they did. The Betsy performers would enter the field of competition at around 2:30 pm in their dress whites, black jackets and black plumes. They would give a solid performance but left a little room for improvement.
The way the competition was structured, the 24 bands would perform in a preliminary round and the 10 best scoring bands would return a couple of hours later to go head to head in the final round. At least that was the plan. During the first round award ceremony, an announcement was made to quickly move to the gym of the school due to severe weather which was headed for the area. Approximately 2000 students, teachers, and family members would spent about 2 hours waiting for the weather to pass. After some heavy rain, intense lightning and wind, the storm would pass and the decision was made to move forward with the competition an hour and a half later than planned. The band would quickly move back to the buses and get ready in the dark. The now wet equipment would be prepared for competition and the band would warm up in a dark parking lot. They would perform 6th of 10 and would hit the field at 9:45 pm. As they entered the stadium, this time displaying their orange plumes, the large crowd of Elizabethton supporters would give them a thunderous welcome. The band lined up on the far side of the field with drum major Katie Pless leading the way. As the band stood at attention, the now nearly infamous Perry Elliot would give the command asking what time it was. Then those famous words filled the stadium "IT"S SHOWTIME"
A final salute was given to the judges then the magic began. As the performance started, Orville the white bird soared across the field and the music filled the air. The entire band played and marched with a passion and precision that exceeded any performance this year by the Betsy Band. Director Elliott had quickly made his way to the press box and as he watched he would swell with pride and emotion. The high schoolers gave the performance of their lives. It was near perfection and probably could not have been done any better. The solos were crisp, the lines were straight, the music was dynamic and the relatively young colorguard which had worked very hard, brought their "A" game.
As the performance concluded, the crowd erupted in applause and several proud parents (including this reporter) were wiping the tears from their eyes. The band knew that they had left it all out on the field. It was now up to the judges. As the band disappeared out of the stadium and back into the dark parking lot, several talented competitors took the field. The Cyclones would head back to the bus and would spend a little time with their directors and sectional coaches. As some of their stiffest competition took the field, the Cyclone band would courteously work their way back into the back of the stadium to watch the last band perform from a hilltop. The Betsy hopefuls where full of anticipation as all of the bands were called back to the filed for the awards ceremony.
Each band was given a rating for Drum Major, Percussion, Colorguard and overall performance. The Elizabethton band would receive a superior rating in each of the four categories. Katie Pless would take first place for Drum Major, the Percussion would take second place, and for the first time in Elizabethton's history, the Betsy Band Colorguard would take first place honors in the state. Then the final results were given for the ten teams. Eventually there would only be two teams left and as the second place team was announced, the Betsy Band finally realized that their hard work had finally paid off. They were now the Division 2 Champions.
When the announcement was made, the entire band along with parents and friends, stormed the filed and the next several minutes were filled with tears of joy and hugs. The trophy was hoisted into the air as the state champions savored the moment. The band would return home the next day to a hero's welcome that included a police escort and around 200 cheering fans. As the families celebrated, Director Perry Elliott met with local media for a interview and the hard working chaperones were taking care of last minute housekeeping tasks. A special thank you is offered to the support "Pit" crew, chaperones, family members, "Band Boosters" and especially Directors Perry Elliott and Chris Lockhart for their dedication and commitment to the Elizabethton High School "Betsy" marching band, the 2012 Division 2 State Champions.