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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Local bands fare well against top competition

Local bands fare well against top competition

Two of the best prep marching bands in the state of Louisiana call Lafourche Parish home.

Both South Lafourche and Central Lafourche fared well at the Louisiana Showcase of Marching Bands, which takes places annually on the campus of UL-Lafayette.

This year’s event was on Nov. 7, and both local schools scored high marks with the event’s panel of strict judges.
The Pride of South Lafourche Marching Band won Best in Class Overall for Auxiliary and Band First Place for the competitions Small Class.

The Central Lafourche High School Trojan Lancer Band took home Band Second Place for the Large Class.
Both local marching bands fared well in the Finals with the Tarpons finishing eighth out of 32 bands and the Trojans placing as the Reserve Grand State Champion – an honor given to the state runner-up.

The school’s band directors said the accomplishments are byproducts of hard work and selflessness from the musicians involved.

Both said they are proud of how far the groups have come this season.

“We have a great bunch of kids, and it was really good to see them be honored in Lafayette,” Central Lafourche Band Director William Martin said. “Overall, we’re pleased and proud of them for a job well done.”

“It was rewarding and enjoyable for me – not for myself, but for the students, because they’ve done so much hard work to get there,” South Lafourche Band Director Randy Chiasson added. “For me as a band director, I’d been to the showcase many times, but for the kids and especially our seniors, it was great to see them place in the Top 10 – that’s something we’d done before, but hadn’t done in a while.”

To be among the elite in Louisiana is tough.

At the Louisiana Showcase of Marching Bands, several judges are tasked with grading multiple pieces of each halftime routine.

At the end of the performance, the judges collaborate and yield a final tally.

“They are judging your music, your ability to march and be in rhythm as a group and just the whole, overall performance,” Chiasson said. “It’s tough. You’re judged for how you make the audience feel – how you set the mood and paint the picture for the audience.”

Both the Tarpons and Trojans did exactly that, earning good scores in just about every phase.

The marching bands competed in separate classifications with the Tarpons in Class AA and Central Lafourche in Class AAA. Bands are separated by school size, and the Trojans have a greater enrollment than South Lafourche.

In Class AA, South Lafourche’s band scored the aforementioned titles in auxiliary and band first place. They were also second in percussion behind Vandebilt.

In Class AAA, the Trojans were first in percussion, trumping Fontainebleau, which finished second.

“It was a great day,” Martin said. “It always is. We did our best to put our best foot forward and give a solid performance.”

For Chiasson, he said he’s grateful for everyone involved in what he called the school’s “band family.”

The band director said the band has 113 members and 17 seniors – a group of talented performers that he said South Lafourche High School will miss.

Chiasson added that to be successful, a school needs more than just a diligent director and talented students. It takes a full team, including other instructors, parents and volunteers around the community.

“It’s more than just me – I can promise you,” Chiasson said. “We have a great team. I have a lot of help and a lot of people who give up their time to help us perform at as high a level as we possibly can.”