Marching Bulldogs finish Third in state contest
Purple Pride drum majors win First in state
By Steve Short
A police escort and cheerleader squad gave the Milan High School band a royal welcome home Sunday afternoon, after the band finished third overall in the Tennessee Division II Marching Band Championship in Smyrna Nov. 5.
Elizabethton took first and Adamsville second.
Milan took other elite honors as drum majors Charity Hopper and Olivia Dickerson won First Place in State, and Milan’s Color Guard group won Second Place.
Soloists were Anna Daugherty (flute), Michaela Sherwood (baritone sax), and Rayce Hardesty (baritone horn).
This was Milan’s best finish in the state contest in 34 years, according to records. Milan finished Third in 1982, Second in 1981. Since 1981, Milan has finished in the Top 10 twelve times. Milan’s last top ten finish was Ninth in 2011.
In Smyrna, Milan’s performance was crisp, dynamic and expressive.
“I’m extremely proud of our students and their character on a daily basis,” said Milan Director John Scruggs. “Placing in Finals was our goal for this year. Ending up Third Place in the entire state is just icing on the cake.
“I’m also very proud of our West Tennessee band friends,” Scruggs added. “Six of the ten finalists in Division II were from West Tennessee (Adamsville, Milan, South Gibson, McNairy, Obion Co. and Chester Co.). That is pretty strong representation.”
“Our drum majors have a very difficult task every year,” added Scruggs. “Not only do they have to keep the students in line, but they have to keep me in line as well. Charity (Hopper) and Olivia (Dickerson) have worked very hard all year and sacrificed of themselves to make sure that the group has been successful. I’m elated that their achievements have been recognized.”
“Our guard has persevered through injuries and rewrites all season,” Scruggs said. “To end out the year so strong is a testament to our girls’ dedication.”
“It was very encouraging to have our Assistant Principal, Mr. Greg Scott and Superintendent, Mr. Criswell there cheering us on,” said Scruggs. “It should also be noted that this would have not been possible without the support of our pit crew, prop crew, and chaperones.”
“This is the result of each and every Milan student over the last four years,” said Mr. Scruggs about the Third Place finish. “I told those kids five years ago, ‘Your hard work and trust in me is laying the foundation for the future of this band program. The future successes are your legacy!’ So thank you classes of 2013, ‘14, ’15 and ‘16 for helping us to get here. I am deeply grateful and humbled to be allowed these opportunities to work with these wonderful kids.”
Mr. Scruggs also thanked his family, wife, Ashley and their children, mother Pat Barnett and mother-in-law, Janice Shelton for their support.
Milan outperformed area bands, South Gibson, McNairy, Obion Co. and Chester Co.
Top 10 finishes: 1. Elizabethton 94.6, 2. Adamsville 93.0, 3. MILAN 88.45, 4. SOUTH GIBSON 88.1, 5. Signal Mountain 83.6, 6. McNairy 83.15, 7. Macon 82.9, 8. Greenville 81.8, 9. Obion Central 79.2, 10. Chester Co. 78.6.
Judge Joe Allison of Kentucky commended the band’s vivid costuming and actions as marionettes coming to life in the show titled, “Marionette.”
“The (marionettes) really do evolve before our very eyes,” he said. “That’s very elegant choreography and performed quite in an understanding manner. I’m just really impressed with the training of the dancers. So evocative, so tastefully done. Love the way the baritones move and glide across the grass, expressively in terms of body and musicianship.”
Allison said the show was “artfully presented” in a tasteful way.
Phillip Franklin, the drum major judge, called the program “compelling.” “Overall, this is a very strong, strong introduction,” he said about the start of the show. “There’s good communication between both drum majors. You guys are pretty well in sync and very well controlled.”
The Milan band is led by Captain Hannah Spicer, Assistant Band Captains Michaela Sherwood and Jacob Beals. Color Guard Captain Shannon Petty and Drum Majors Charity Hopper and Olivia Dickerson. Adult leaders are Asst. Director Lisa Bryant, Guard Director Cassie Bratcher, and Assistant Keith Baumgardner. The Band Parents Association President is Scotty Hopper.