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Grand Champion — again

SEB’s Swarm wins East Georgia Festival

Grand Champion — again

Grand Champion — again

Members of the Swarm, Southeast Bullo...

Waiting to hear who would be named Grand Champion of the 37th annual East Georgia Marching Band Festival, Southeast Bulloch High School band members were confident they put on a good show. The Swarm, which won the Grand Champion trophy in 2011, was one of 13 bands to compete last Saturday at Statesboro High School.

"I was filled with so much pride that our band had played such a good show and it had been received so well by the crowd," said Hayley Kinard, a junior bass drummer for SEB.
And then the announcement came: "The Grand Champion of the 2013 East Georgia Marching Band Festival with a score of 92.3 is ... Southeast Bulloch High School."

Kinard, along with her bandmates on the field and in the stands, jumped for joy and began one long group hug.
"I was honestly amazed that we won because of how good the other bands shows were," said Cash Owens, a sophomore who is a snare drummer and the band's quartermaster. "I was so proud that the crowd and the judges thought so highly of what we had done."

The competition was put on by the Statesboro High School's Marching Band Boosters, and ran from 2-10 p.m. There were four Class A bands, Claxton, Treutlen, Washington-Wilkes, and Wheeler; five Class AA bands, Lee, Liberty, Warner-Robins, Screven, and Southeast Bulloch; two Class AAA bands, Burke and Pierce; and two Class AAAA bands, Perry and Camden.

Statesboro High School Band Director Lee Collins said: "This show wouldn't have been possible without the band boosters, the band parents and our band members. In fact, we had a number of Georgia Southern students who came over and offered to help as well."

As the host school, Statesboro High was not eligible to enter the competition, but the Blue Devil Marching Band performed its "Southern Suite" show. It included music from the Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and finished off with Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind," which had the whole crowd swaying with the tune.

The Swarm's show is titled "Off the Deep End" and consists of songs by Ozzie Osborne, Gnarls Barkley, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Fine Young Cannibals, Queen, Pat Phillips and Franz Liszt and finishes with Jacques Offenbach's exuberant "Can-Can."

Washington-Wilkes High School was the Class A group winner, and the school's band director Emme Hines offered high praise for The Swarm.

"Southeast Bulloch's shows are always outside of the box, and this one was probably the best I've seen in 14 years of competition. It was absolutely amazing," she said.

The Swarm will perform their "Off the Deep End" show one final time in Bulloch County - Nov. 1, at halftime of the Yellow Jackets' home game against Tattnall County.

Band director Matt Olsen, who is helped by assistant band directors Joey Mitchell and Carrie Olsen, his wife, will take the Swarm to three more band competitions this season - the Jeff Davis High School Invitational today, the Marching Mustang Festival Nov. 2 at South Effingham High and the Georgia Marching Band Series Finals also at South Effingham on Nov. 9.

Roger Allen contributed to this report.


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