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The Swarm are Grand Champs
SEB band earns top honors at Burke Co. Bear Invitational
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Members of the Southeast Bulloch High School band “The Swarm” celebrate after being named Grand Champion at the Burke County Bear Invitational. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
    Last week, the Southeast Bulloch High School marching band “The Swarm” and their dancers “The Stingers” participated in their last competition of the year. The event: the Burke County Bear Invitational Marching Competition held at the Burke County’s High School Stadium in Waynesboro.
    SEB’s Swarm ended the season on the highest note possible – the band was named Grand Champion.
    As in their two previous competitions, bands as small as Class A/AA (as few as 50 members) and as large as Class AAAA (more than 200 members) from all across Georgia were there, hoping to take home the “Best In Class” and just maybe the “Grand Champion” or “Second Place Overall” trophies.
    When the scores were tallied after the ‘Preliminary Competition’, Southeast Bulloch’s band and their supporters were ecstatic to learn the Swarm had placed tops in all Class Ratings and Placements and had won the “Best Overall Band” award.
    In addition to Class A/AA Swarm, eight much larger bands made it into the finals; half of which were Class AAA bands, and half of which were Class AAAA bands. After all of the other bands had played, at 9:30 p.m. the Swarm once again took the field. After what was probably the best performance of their lives, the band left the field to thunderous applause
    When the announcer had just second place and the Grand Champion left to reveal, the packed-to-overflowing stands went silent. Once again, the only two bands left were the Class AAA Perry Panthers and the Swarm.
    These bands have been in numerous competitions over the years. For instance, at the Sounds of Silver Competition in Blackshear, SEB won first place in 2007 and second place in 2008.
    In 2009, however, Perry’s Panthers took first place and SEB ended up fifth. Therefore, each band’s pride was on the line. Finally, the announcer declared that the runner-up for the 2009 Bear Invitational was Perry.
    Instantaneously, the nearly 100 members of the Swarm contingent of  SEB Principal Dr. Trey Robertson, Swarm Band Boosters wearing their bright fluorescent yellow-green Swarm T-Shirts, and most of the Swarm Band and Dancers in the stands started jumping for joy.
    Dr. Robertson led the Swarm parents down onto the field to congratulate his students and their children. It turns out Dr. Robertson had driven all the way to Waynesboro to bring the band their Police Siren, which had accidentally been left behind at the school.
    Many of the band members were seniors, who with this victory had just finished their fourth and final year of competitions. A number of the band’s seniors were in tears, for as trumpeter senior Connie Wyatt said, “This is the happiest day of my life. I can’t believe we won it all.”
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