Odessa Marching Invitational
The Sound of Panther Pride marching band brought home five more awards at the Odessa Marching Invitational this past Saturday! The largest band in Oak Grove history, with 178 members, took first on parade, second on field, first for indoor drumline, second for indoor colorguard and best colorguard unit of the day! “These days are so awesome watching the kids play; I’d drive the trailer for this band year round! I wish the marching season didn’t have to end.” Quoted booster officer, and band Father Gary Cox. ‘Awesome’ just seemed to creep into everyone’s vocabulary throughout the day to describe the students, the results, the judging and of course the weather! “Who knew that our final competition would be the one with the best conditions to play in?” Asked director Jon West.
Oak Grove is the only school to participate in all ten Odessa invitationals since it’s inception in 2004. The community of Odessa pulls together to make this day extremely organized and as stress free as possible for students and directors alike. Nineteen bands from as far away as Lansing, Kansas and Aurora, Missouri made the trek to be adjudicated by regionally respected judges. Oak Grove, fresh off of their Trenton parade defeat handed to them from Savannah, settled the score placing first! “The parade was amazing! I am so proud of all the members of this band – I love them all!” said flute section leader Hailey Hayes. Oak Grove’s 83 point total was the highest score of the day and was a healthy five points ahead of the Savannah savages.
Oak Grove’s colorguard, under the student leadership of Torri Hicks, Callie Tripp and Becca Mendenhall, had yet another fantastic day placing second for indoor and overall best auxiliary unit for the day. “I love watching the flags perform their indoor show,” stated freshman tenor saxophonist Tabitha Easter. “With every rifle toss me heart stopped beating!” New to the competition this year was the champion caption award, which was the combination of the indoor and on field auxiliary scores. Despite placing second on indoor to Lee’s Summit West, the Oak Grove girls prevailed and brought home the highest honor given to a colorguard unit for the day. “I’m proud of our squad. Our goal this year was make the best impact possible for the band on field and I’m confident that we accomplished that.” Captain Torri Hicks said. Also performing for the final time in competition on Saturday was the Oak Grove drumline.
“Our drumline rocked it” exclaimed freshman vibraphone percussionist Kirstin Rogers. Led by Captain George Olds and section leaders Lucy Harrenstien, Jessi Cathey and Anna Lee, the drumline defeated their competition by a substantial margin. Blue Springs percussion instructor Clif Walker judged the panthers for their indoor routine, which included the Beatles tunes ‘Imagine’, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’. “The demand required for this show is at such a high level. There’s some great teaching and learning going on in Oak Grove!” Walker mentioned on his judging tape. Members of the Oak Grove community will have one final opportunity to experience the indoor routines by colorguard and drumline at the annual chili supper fundraiser that the band will be hosting at the middle school on November 7th.
At 7:00 in the evening, The Sound of Panther Pride surrounded the Odessa football field to perform the ‘Beatles’ show for the last time in competition. The show has been a fan favorite highlighting all of the band’s many strengths, beautiful auxiliary work, powerful full ensemble sounds, precise percussion playing, a sing along interlude during ‘Hey Jude’ and breath-taking moments performed by outstanding soloists. Saturday night under the lights, every aspect of this complex show came together better than ever before! “I’d say about our performance, that it was truly flawless!” state senior drum major TJ Wittman. Junior drum majors Cayla Wilhoit, Madison Letzig and fellow senior Markus Stone agreed. “We played today to make ourselves proud, just as we were told to do and it felt great!” added Stone. Oak Grove placed mere points behind Auoroa, Missouri defeating Reeds Spring, Savannah and Lansing, Kansas. “Beating Savannah was the goal all week during rehearsals,” quoted Beth Jinkins. “It’s such a healthy rivalry that we’ve created with that marching band. I look forward to meeting them again in the 2014 season!” Jinkins added.
Though the tenth annual Odessa Marching Invitational marks the final competition for The Sound of Panther Pride, the season will continue for as long as the amazing Oak Grove football team plays. The community of Oak Grove will have the opportunity to once again catch the award winning high school band out of uniform and in costume at the home football game on Halloween this Thursday!