Braden River High earns third consecutive 3A marching band title; Lakewood Ranch is third in 4A.
Braden River High School’s Marching Band of Pirates has done it again.
For the third consecutive year, the band claimed victory in the 3A division at the Florida Marching Band Competition’s state championship at Daytona Stadium on Nov. 23 in Daytona Beach.
“I’m so happy for them,” said Jeramiah Bowman, Braden River’s band director. “It was a perfect ending to a great year.”
The band dazzled the crowd with its performance of its show “Rise,” which was an inspiration from Principal Sharon Scarbrough’s motto last year that “The (Braden) River keeps rising.”
“It was just stunning,” Bowman said. “I’m so proud of them. They had such a hard year, and they’re so young. We pushed them so hard, but they always rise to the challenge.”
For Penelope Sugg, a Braden River senior and drum major, being at the state competition with her band family and winning a third title was the cherry on top of her final marching season.
Juan Brito, a Braden River senior who had a singing role in the show, said the performance was “one of the most time-stopping experiences.”
“By the end of the show, I stopped worrying about the show and just took it all in,” he said.
Lakewood Ranch High School’s Marching Mustangs placed third in the 4A division after two years of missing the finals.
“We are back to our high standards,” said Ron Lambert, the Mustangs’ band director. “We’ve been to finals 12 out 16 years, and those kids belong there.”
Lambert said the finals performance was the band’s best of the season because all the training and work the students put in came together.
As the bands were finding out how they placed in the 4A division at University High School in Orlando, Lakewood Ranch’s band leaders waited in anticipation to hear if they made it to the top five.
When sixth place came around and the announcement came, there was a pause.
“For sixth place, it’s Lake … Howell High School,” the announcer said.
“Our hearts just dropped,” senior Sarah Huston said. “I loved the rush of everything. We had such a positive energy about today since the moment we got out of bed.”
The band amazed the audience with its performance of “The Angular Objection,” which honored five band family members — two students, two parents and a staff member — who died in a span of eight months last year.
Eric Miller, a Lakewood Ranch senior and drum major, said competing in finals was a “great comeback to show everyone we’re still here, and the past two years was just a hiccup.”
The state competition was the final performance of the season for both bands, which left the directors and many seniors with a bittersweet feeling.
“It’s always sad because we build a bond during the hundreds of hours of practice,” Lambert said.
Eric Miller, a Lakewood Ranch senior and drum major, said competing in finals was a "great comeback to show everyone we're still here and the past two years was just a hiccup."
Scott Baker, a Mustangs senior, said he couldn't have asked for a better final performance.
The state competition was the final performance of the season for both bands, leaving the directors and many seniors with a bittersweet feeling.
"It's always sad for me because we build quite a bond during the hundreds of hours of practice," Lambert said.