Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
WEST PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth West High School Marching Band competed against the best bands in the state Saturday at The Ohio State University Buckeye Invitational Band Competition at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
Thirty-five schools from across the state were invited to compete.
“Basically we got on the radar by going to state finals last year. It triggered that we were one of the better bands in the state so they extended an invitation for us to come up and perform at the event,” said West Band Director Mike Pierce.
Bands competing were divided into categories based on the size of their school, from Class AA (the biggest schools) to Class C (the smallest). With about 72 band members, West competed in Class B. In their class, West won top awards for Best Marching, Best General Effect, and Best Percussion.
“In fact, my percussion was fourth in all 35 bands,” Pierce said.
West Color Guard also placed second in its class, and the entire band qualified to compete in the state competition, at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, on Nov. 4. West performs at 2 p.m. The band could submit to compete in the Grand Nationals competition, but the non-refundable entry fee and travel accommodations are too expensive, Pierce said.
“That is something that we might consider in the future if we continue to do good things,” he said.
At the moment, he said, the band is still working on its fundraising drive to pay for new band uniforms.
Pierce was concerned that students would be intimidated performing at the Horseshoe — home of The Best Damn Band in the Land.
“I thought my kids would be in shock being in such a big venue. That stadium holds 110,000 people, and if there were 5,000 people watching you it looks empty. I thought my kids would just be scared and big-eyed about the thing. They came down the ramp and they said ‘let’s go do this, let’s give our best performance and show them who West is.’ That’s exactly the attitude they took to the field, with confidence and ownership,” Pierce said.
The West High School Band will perform locally at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, in Tracy Park, during the Veteran’s Day Memorial Service. The West Junior High Band also performed in Tracy Park on Sept. 28, during the Special Olympics, and will perform in the Jaycee’s Christmas Parade, in Portsmouth, on Nov. 15.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.