FORT GIBSON, Okla. — A show about ancient warriors coming alive brought victories to Fort Gibson High School's Royal Regiment Band this fall.
The band recently won the Oklahoma Bandmasters Class 4A State Championship Marching contest.
Band Director LaNell Spyres said the band was judged for music, visual effect and general effect. She recalled feeling anxious about the results.
"When they gave out the caption awards, Blanchard High School won both High Music and High Visual," Spyres said. "We thought they would be the champion. But then when they announced that High General Effect went to Fort Gibson, I knew we still had a chance if that score was high enough. Grove was announced in third place, then Blanchard was announced as second place, and we knew we had pulled it off."
Wagoner High School placed seventh in Class 4A preliminaries and 15th overall, including both 4A and 5A.
"It was an exciting win against some great 4A bands in our state," Spyres said. "In finals, they went up against the 5A schools as well and finished sixth overall out of the 23 4A and 5A bands that competed from across the state."
Tahlequah High School's band placed third in Class 5A and third overall. Coweta was 5A State Champion.
Fort Gibson won several other awards this season, Spyres said.
The band took Grand Champion at the Bixby Tournament of Bands. Other awards from Bixby included Best Drum Majors 4A, Best Percussion 4A, High General Effect 4A, High Visual Performance 4A and High Music Performance 4A.
The band placed first runner-up at the War Eagle Classic in Rogers, Arkansas. They won Best in Class Drum Majors, Percussion and Color Guard and Best Class A Band.
Spyres said this year's Royal Regiment marching theme, "Awakening," was about China's ancient Terra Cotta Warrior statues.
"Beginning last spring, we began looking at music and themes for the show," she said. "We decided to put three of those shows up to a vote to the students and they picked the Asian theme. Because I didn’t want to do just any Asian theme, we decided to make our show about the Terra Cotta Warriors of China. We costumed our color guard and percussion to resemble the uniforms of the statues."
She said band parents Jennifer and Randy Jones helped students build five 8-foot red toriis, or gates, to complete the stage. Toriis are found at entrances to Shinto shrines.
"It was a fun show to put together, and the students were really proud of the end product," Spyres said.
Spaulding writes for Muskogee Phoenix, a CNHI News Service publication.