FHS band gears up after finishing season in second place
Franklin High School proved to be a powerhouse for fall sports all season long. Another group among the exceptionally talented students who endured countless practices and excelled at the state level was the Franklin High School Marching Band.
Led by Band Director Buddy Huckabee, the 73-member strong band competed in a total of six competitions this season, traveling from Charlotte, all the way to Atlanta. In each competition the band excelled, taking either first or second place in all captions.
The band competed against a total of 42 bands throughout the season, finishing second overall, placing 40 bands squarely behind them as the season ended. Franklin’s band received excellent ratings at the beginning of the season and finished by accomplishing straight superior ratings in the final three competitions.
“It is a very difficult task to place superior ratings in marching band, as it seems 95 percent of the students have to be 100 percent correct the entire show,” noted Huckabee. “I am very proud of this group of students. Every band is different. Every year, the students change a bit, some for the good, some for the bad ... but this year they have continued to work hard to improve, impress, and enjoy themselves as they continue on to the Gator Bowl trip.”
Unlike other fall sports, the students in the band are not quite ready to wrap up the season. They have been working hard since an uncommonly hot July when they began a two week period of 10 hour a day practices during band camp, and will continue to work until their performance at the Gator Bowl in January. “We will continue to perform and entertain at the home football games as the team goes through playoffs,” said Huckabee. “We also are preparing for our Christmas concert with the concert band, our Christmas parade with the marching band, and are learning an entirely new half-time show and another parade piece for the Gator Bowl parade and half-time show. It seems like every day we need four more hours of practice, but are only able to use what little class time we have.”
Franklin’s band is one of 15 bands from around the country that will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., to perform at halftime during the Gator Bowl and at the parade beforehand, and is the only representative from the Carolinas to be given the honor. “This trip is one that they can tell their grandchildren about.
“We are the only band representing North Carolina and South Carolina, so we are going in loud and proud,” said Huckabee.
Aside from performing to a sold-out stadium during the Gator Bowl, the band will also perform in the nationally televised parade, which usually nets around 50,000 spectators. Students will march 2.3 miles all the way through uptown Jacksonville, and will also serve as a competition with participants being judged on spacing, timing, horn carriage, musicality, blend, balance, consistency, posture and intonation.
After the parade, all the bands make their way to Terry Parker High School for the Gator Bowl “Battle of the Bands” competition. Every band will then compete with their halftime shows for the top spot.
The winning band will get to perform their show for the pre-game festivities at the Gator Bowl itself on Jan. 2. This will be FHS’ second appearance in the Gator Bowl. Their first came in 2005 when the FHS band received first place out of the bands in attendance dubbing them an “honors band.”
The band is winding down their annual fruit sale, but were unable to completely meet the $25,000 goal needed to finish paying for the trip to the Gator Bowl. Before the fruit sale even started, students had already raised $80,000 on their own. “There are several students that still owe money,” said Huckabee. “The money remaining, will have to come from them, their parents, their friends, and wherever they can find the money. We are still looking for sponsors to help us out.”
The FHS band boosters will hold a pancake breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 7 to 10 a.m. at Fatz Cafe with proceeds to go toward expenses for the trip.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the band for their trip to the Gator Bowl can contact the band booster club by calling Franklin High School at (828)524-6467.