PARK VISTA MARCHING BAND WOWS JUDGES
While New York City and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade beckon, the Park Vista High School band is not skipping a beat in its regular competition season, this weekend landing a first-in-class title and second place overall in a throwdown with 30 other bands.
Saturday’s Bands of America Orlando Regional Championship drew competitors from across Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Palm Beach County was represented not only by Park Vista but also Palm Beach Central and Jupiter high school bands. By day’s end, only Park Vista rose to top rankings, logging its best performance ever at regionals.
“I was very, very proud of them,” said band director Patrick Duncan. “They were fantastic.”
The regional competition is typically a stop on the way to the national stage. And while Park Vista proved it has the chops to be on that stage by earning that second place, making the trip to the Grand Nationals in Indianapolis this year isn’t an option, Duncan said.
The Performers, as the 240-student band is known, have a prior November engagement and doing both is just too costly, he said.
Last April, the marching band landed an invitation to the this year’s nationally televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The trip to Macy’s alone is estimated to ring in at $400,000 — a sum the students and parents have worked for more than a year to chip away at selling football programs, concession goodies and more.
It is one of a dozen bands that will be marching on Nov. 22 — and the only one from Florida.
A search of news archives and local memory come up with only two other Palm Beach County bands to have earned that precious invite: Jupiter High in 1989, and Lake Worth High in 1974 and 1969.
Performing at this level takes grit and endurance. This year’s show is titled “In Due Time,” a themed performance that runs just over eight minutes and employs dozens of props, including a 12-foot-high, three-dimensional number 1 that pops its top to reveal a student playing the flute.
Senior Faith Southwick, who plays trumpet and is the band’s executive officer, said Saturday’s competition delivered a huge payoff she hadn’t expected.
“I was surprised, yes, but more than that I was really proud — of myself, my teammates, and of all the hours of work we put in over the course of the last couple years to grow the program into what it has become,” Southwick texted Sunday.
“I’d say we reached a new level of performance yesterday ... from the field we could all tell that a lot of the pieces of the performance clicked together yesterday when they hadn’t before. We have three shows left and I think we’ve hit our stride, so I’m excited to see where the rest of the season takes us!”
It’s not too late to see The Performers, and more than 20 other high school bands, take the field — and contribute to Park Vista’s Macy’s Day fund. The school will host its Annual Park Vista Striking Cobra Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 3.
‘We have three shows left and I think we’ve hit our stride.’
Faith Southwick Park Vista senior and band executive officer