The Palm Beach Post - - LOCAL - By Sonja Is­ger Palm Beach Post Staff Writer sis­ger@pb­ Twit­ter: @son­jais­ger

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

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