The Bradwell Institute Tiger Marching Band placed fifth at the Georgia Marching Band Series Championship on Nov. 8 at Mercer University in Macon.
The day started out a bit nerve-wracking, as the band’s equipment truck broke down on Highway 196 en route to the venue. Band director Jeremy Fermin said a parent of one of the band members saved the day by hauling all the equipment to Macon.
However, the band recovered in a big way. The Tiger guard and the drum line both placed fourth and the drum major placed second. Fermin said adding the highlight of the evening was out-ranking their band-series rival, Jeff Davis.
“I'm very excited about how we did in Macon,” Fermin said. “We were ranked sixth in the series going into the championship. Jeff Davis was the one to beat, and they were ranked fifth. In previous contests, we beat Jeff Davis, and in the last competition prior to the finals, they beat us, so this was the tiebreaker.”
Fermin said the bands ranked first through fourth are top-notch tier-one band programs that nearly are hard to top.
“Truly, the best part was seeing the kids’ faces as they realized the fruits of their labor,” he said. “It's been a long season since band camp, and they have grown by leaps and bounds. I cannot adequately express how impressed and proud of these kids I am.”
Fermin said they will use the comments and recommendations handed down by the judges to make improvements for next year’s series.
“We will focus on individual execution on the marching field and, of course, fundamentals on their instruments,” he said.
The fifth-place finish capped a great season for the band, which finally earned enough funding to buy and wear new uniforms this year.
Fermin said the band now is attempting to resolve another major issue — updating some instruments in desperate need of repair.
“The front ensemble with the mallet instruments … I mean, I don’t know how old they are, but literally some of them are being held together by duct tape and C-Clamps,” he said. “I am very fortunate our boosters have been very kind to help us where they can, but ... it’s the infrastructure that we are struggling with now.”
The Tiger Marching Band is competing in the “My Pit’s the Pits” contest.
The band has submitted a video showing why it is in need of new equipment. The more that the video is watched and shared, the better chance it has of being selected for a viewer’s choice award. The winner will receive $25,000 worth of new equipment.
The video is posted on the band’s Facebook page and YouTube.
Fermin said the band competed Oct. 25 at the East Georgia Marching Championships in Statesboro. The Liberty County High School graduate said his alma mater did well by placing sixth. Fermin said both schools rated superior and had to compete against 17 other marching bands.
“There are a bunch of competitions throughout the state, but you must compete in two, and based on you ratings, you qualify to go to the championship,” he said. “And based on our scores, we got the invitation.”