The LaRue County High School marching band faces different competition this year because of a change in the Kentucky Music Educators Association classification system.
In past years, the Band of Hawks competed at the Class 2A level but has been bumped up to Class 3A. The change is because KMEA now bases band classification on school size and band size, instead of just the former. Other bands in Class 3A include John Hardin High School, Breckinridge County and Warren Central.
The band has 70 members. When Alex Patterson started as band director in 2016, there were about 50.
“I try to keep clear goals for the kids,” he said. “I try to not only foster a strong work ethic but I try to foster a pretty positive environment so I’m hoping that is contributing to growth.”
The Band of Hawks competed Sept. 14 in the Taylor County Marching Invitational, where the band won Reserve Grand Champion, which is given to the second-highest scoring band regardless of class. The band also competed in the Barren County Marching Invitational on Sept. 28, where it won fourth overall.
LaRue was one of nine bands to perform Saturday at the Twin Lakes Invitaitonal in Grayson County.
Some students are enjoying frequent competition. Drayton Constant, a freshman who plays the sousaphone, said he was convinced to join the band by his mother, who was a member of the band in the early 2000s. Constant said joining the band was one of the best decisions he ever made. Constant said the band competes nearly every weekend and is a lot more active than his middle school band.
“It gave me more to do and made me connect with a lot more people,” he said.
The show the band is performing is called “Fade Away,” which incorporates a painting slowly losing color throughout the show as well as the color guard’s uniforms and flags losing color. The band will play “Remember Me” from “Coco.”
“We like doing a concept-style show,” Patterson said.
In addition to KEMA competitions, the band is trying its hand at a Bands of America competition. It competes Oct. 12 in Johnson City, Tennessee, against bands from Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky.
Like with other high school bands in the region, some students take on leadership roles. Cece Madrigal is one. The senior is the field commander who conducts during the marching band shows. Madrigal said she wanted to become a leader because she had noticed that band members weren’t as close as when she joined.
“Even in the interview for the audition, I said that I wanted to make the band a family again,” she said. “I was hoping through me being in this leadership position I could help make the band that family again.”