BY JOHN THOMPSON, Johnson City Press
ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton High School Betsy Band completed another very successful year of band competition on Saturday with a second-place finish in the Tennessee Division II State Marching Band Championship in Smyrna.
While second place is a disappointment for a band that always strives to win the state championship, all the participants and observers said the unit had its best performance in the final competition Saturday night.
“They looked as good as we have seen them this year during the preliminary round,” John Thomas, president of the Elizabethton High School Band Boosters, said. ‘Then they took it to a whole new level in the finals, they did a fantastic performance.”
But Thomas said the true greatness the band was not displayed until the awards were announced and the band members learned they had finished second to Adamsville Junior/Senior High for the second year in a row.
“When they heard the results, they immediately broke ranks and went to Adamsville and congratulated them and shook their hands. To me, that showed it all,” Thomas said. He said Elizabethton Band Director Perry Elliott doesn’t just build good bands, he is building good citizens who care about building good relationships in their community.
Sarah Moore, drum major for the 2018 band, also said the band had performed at its best on that field of competition Saturday night.
For Moore, like most seniors, it was the final performance in a seven-year career in band, starting with three years at T.A. Dugger Junior High, then four years at Elizabethton. For those seniors, their high school careers included a state championship in their sophomore year and three second-place finishes in state competition in the other three years. They never finished lower than second place.
Upon her return from the competition, Moore is uncertain as to whether band will be in her future. She was more certain of one thing — the band owed a lot to the parents and boosters who have worked so many years to give them the opportunity to compete for state championships and to march at Disneyworld.
“All those parents and everyone else who worked so hard for us really deserve our thanks, Moore said.
Senior Caleb Johnson is the band’s baritone section leader. He also said the band had its best performance in the finals. He feels all the hard work paid off. He hopes to continue his career in marching band at East Tennessee State University.
Johnson also praised his band director. He said Elliott not only is a teacher of music, but a teacher of success. “Mr Elliott inspired us to do our best on Saturday night.”
As the interview with Johnson was ending, he stopped and said, “Please add to the story that Mr. Elliott has really made a big impact on my life.”
Watch the full performance below beginning the video at the 11:15 mark.