The Duncan Banner

April 23, 2014

DHS band wins fifth straight Sweepstakes

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The Duncan High School band received a rare distinction, winning Sweepstakes for the fifth consecutive year.

Senior Cody Plumley is excited the band won Sweepstakes for its fifth year in a row, making the DHS Band one of the few school bands to do so.

“When they announced it, it was really exciting,” Plumley said. “We keep the chain going, add another link.”

The band’s winning streak has provided two senior classes with state victories throughout their high school careers. Jeramy Haas, band director, has been impressed with his band students and is excited to see them succeed, regardless of taking the overall award.

“We don’t have a second string,” Haas said. “We don’t have people we pull of the bench. Everyone who went participated. They all have to pull their weight. The way they work, the way they play, that means more to me than a plaque.  When they come away with honors, come away with successes, that’s the cherry on top.”

Judges look at the band in three areas. During marching season, the band is reviewed, noting how the students play and how they work as a team. Concert season reviews many of the same qualities. The final portion is site reading, which junior Jessica Haas said she was happy to find out how successful it went.

During marching season, there were 90 students in the band, including the color guard. Moving into concert season, which doesn’t have color guard, the band dropped to 84 students, which Jeramy Haas said is a good number to have.

This year, the band has 13 seniors, which makes the band mostly underclassmen, Haas said. This is a bonus because it means many of the students will return for the next school year.

For the students, the band isn’t just another class. Plumley, who plays baritone, said band is a family.

And in some respects, the band students spend more time with their band family than their actual families. They practice almost daily and go on trips for competitions with other band members.

Jessica Haas, who plays flute, has known many of her band peers since middle school, when many of the students joined the band. She said some of her peers feel more like siblings than classmates.

She said winning Sweepstakes has been something her band family could do together.

“These seniors got all five years,” Haas said. “I hope to make it six for my senior year.”

In addition to winning Sweepstakes, the band also won the Academic Achievement Award, which is based on classwork instead of musical performances.

Jeramy Haas said he’s glad to see the students working together to find success. With any group, there are different personalities. Haas said the students work through those differences and find success through their music.

Although the band won Sweepstakes, the season for the band is not over. The band will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. May 13 in the DHS auditorium. A percussion concert will take place at 7 p.m. May 12 in the auditorium.

“These guys have had a long year, a long season,” Haas said. “They support a lot of different school groups. We want you to come out and support these guys.”