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James Clemens Band bests the rest in Dixie contest

Katie Miller, who won "Best in Class" Drum Major, strides to the podium to lead the James Clemens High School Band in competition at the Dixie Pride Marching Classic in Trinity. (CONTRIBUTED)
Katie Miller, who won “Best in Class” Drum Major, strides to the podium to lead the James Clemens High School Band in competition at the Dixie Pride Marching Classic in Trinity. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – James Clemens High School Band earned outstanding ratings at its first marching competition.

The Jets Band joined 14 other units on Sept. 27 at the Dixie Pride Marching Classic, hosted by West Morgan High School Band in Trinity. The Jets received all superior ratings in all captions, including the impressive “Best in Class” award for drum major Katie Miller, color guard and dance team.

“The James Clemens Dance Team was also the highest scoring dance team of the day,” director of bands Keith Anderson said. “The band and drum line had the second highest scores of the day. The overall score was only .07 behind first place.”

This year, 155 James Clemens students are marching with 100 winds, 19 percussion, 22 color guard and 13 dancers.

“E = JC squared,” their 2014 show theme, represents “everything we want to do and be with our program,” Anderson said. “It has four movements: Energy, Excitement, Emotion and Evolution.”

Their show mixes original, classical and contemporary music. Featured soloists are Austin Bartlett, “All Night Long” and Peter West, Matt Shelley, Austin Bartlett and Hannah McMillen in the opener.

“The band is being challenged more musically this year than in years past,” Anderson said. The show’s closer puts the Jets to the test with “an extended showcase of notes for our wind players.”

The Trinity crowd responded well to the “Excitement” segment with drum major Katie Miller leading the band and audience in singing lyrics from Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.”

“As a parent, it was thrilling to see the crowd’s response to James Clemens’ show,” band publicist Amy West said. Even other bands’ supporters “were clapping along with the music. I heard lots of ‘ooos and ahhhs.'”

Since its inception, the Jets Band “has continually stepped up to meet challenges head on,” Anderson said. “They’re working extremely hard. I believe hard work has paid off.”

James Clemens’ upcoming competitions are the Southern Hospitality Marching Festival in Hartselle on Oct. 4 and Peach State Invitational in Rome, Ga. on Oct. 25.

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