The Parrish Community and Braden River high school marching bands finished in the top five of their respective divisions at the Florida Marching Band Championships on Nov. 11 at Clearwater High School.
Braden River finished fifth overall despite a flu having swept through the students before the championships.
"It had made its way around and the kids were recovering from it," said Braden River Band Director Cliff Dawson. "I can't say that it didn't affect us."
Even so, the Marching Band of Pirates finished third overall in the preliminaries at Steinbrenner High School in Lutz to advance to the six-team final. Sixteen teams had earned a spot at the championships, including Lakewood Ranch, which finished ninth in the preliminaries and didn't advance.
Somerset Academy of Pembroke Pines won the 3A title after finishing first in the preliminary round as well. Seminole, Jupiter and Orange Park high schools finished ahead of the fifth-place Pirates.
"I honestly couldn't be any more proud," Dawson said. "We might have wanted more, but we really couldn't have hoped for more. To get this far was incredible."
Dawson said it bodes well for the future considering that this year's band had an injection of 25 freshmen into the program, which has 74 students including the color guard.
He said after marching bands all over the state lost numbers due to COVID-19, the programs are beginning to recover.
In the 2A division, Parrish Community finished third behind champion Hialeah Gardens High and runner-up Northside High of St. Petersburg.
The Pride of Parrish Marching Band also was third in the 13-team 2A preliminaries, which were held at Plant High School. Northside was first during the preliminary round, but was overtaken in the finals by Hialeah Gardens, which was second in the prelims.
Parrish, which was competing in its third state championship, finished fourth last year. The marching band is led by Director Kendal Carrier and has grown to 69 members.