Hope Public Schools

HHS Band Earns Top Awards at Cabot Invitational

Color guard members Edith Dominguez, left, and Shakira Arnett,
right, accompanied Drum Major Brandon Gallegos, center, at the awards ceremony.

Ken McLemore

HOPE – The Hope High School Bobcat Marching Band came home on Sept. 25 with a bus full of winners from the Cabot Marching Invitational Contest.

HHS Bands Director Chris Davis said the Bobcat Band took first division awards in color guard and percussion, one second division award for the band and one overall competition award for the percussion line.

“For those who don’t know, a first division is a ‘superior’ rating and a second division is an ‘excellent’ rating,” Davis said. “The band was only a couple of points from receiving a first division, but earned four trophies during the event.”

He said the Bobcat band members have understood they were competing against themselves and COVID-19.

“We needed to perform better than we did during the Friday night Homecoming,” Davis said. “We had quite a few key members quarantined during the week and this caused us to worry for the upcoming competition.”

Davis said he told his musicians, “You earn trophies in practice; you just pick them up at competitions.”

That attitude has sparked the marching band program this year, he said.

“We have been practicing very hard,” Davis said. “We are about a month behind as far as practice goes because of the pandemic and quarantines, but that has not stopped us from working hard.”

Davis said this represents a milestone for the HHS program, noting that at the only competition the band participated in until this month was the 2019 Pleasant Grove Marching Invitational. He said Hope was marked at second and third divisions for that contest.

“This is a big step for the program,” he said. “We had a few seniors speak to the band a few weeks ago.”

Senior Jimmy Parades laid down a challenge, Davis said.

“He told the band that his senior wish was that he wanted the band to earn more than just a ‘participation trophy’ during his senior year,” Davis recalled. “That changed after Saturday’s competition.”

The Bobcat Band travels to Little Rock on Oct. 16 for the Arkansas Championship at the Rock competition.

“This competition will be even more challenging for our band because we will be competing against some of the best schools in Arkansas and the surrounding states,” Davis said. 

Next is the Oct. 19 Arkansas State Band and Orchestra Association Regional Marching Assessment.

Davis said his emphasis has always been upon consistent improvement.

“I tell them quite often they are winning as long as they are better than they were yesterday,” he said. “I, with confidence, can say that the Hope High School Marching Band is, in fact, better than they were yesterday.”

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