Band people often talk about their “band family.” In the days following the 2016 Bands of America Grand Nationals it became clear that “family” extends beyond one’s own band and school to all of us who are alumni, band parents, and boosters.
Just hours after Sophie Rinehart’s standout feature performance with the Castle Marching Knights of Newburgh, Indiana in their first BOA Grand Nationals Finals appearance, her life was taken in a tragic car crash, along with her father and grandmother. Her older sister was injured.
Sophie’s vocal solo and flute duet during Castle’s 2016 show had moved audiences all fall. Grand Nationals was no exception. It seemed everyone, from the 100 participating bands and their supporters to those watching online and fans in the stands, was talking about “the singer with Castle.”
When news spread online Sunday that Sophie had passed away just hours after her Finals performance and celebrating Castle’s 10th place accomplishment with her fellow band members, the band world expressed its shock and sadness.
Condolences began pouring in from band parents, students, teachers, and fans from the Grand National bands and fans from across the country and around the world. Sophie’s vocal solo performance was of Sara Bareilles’ Gravity; Sara herself sent an email offering condolences to the Castle band.
Personally, after sharing the sad news and Music for All staff’s own sadness on the Bands of America Facebook page on Sunday, I was riveted to my computer screen the rest of that evening, finding some small comfort in the thousands of shares and comments from band programs nationwide. #weareallcastle became a way to share the pain and honor Sophie, her family, the Castle band, and the Newburgh community.
Bands of America interviewed many band directors and students during Grand Nationals. When we asked Castle band director Tom Dean to select a student representative for us to interview, he brought Sophie to the set. To honor her memory, and share her special gifts with the world, we are offering this video with portions of that interview and her final performance.
Special thanks to Tresona Multimedia for helping us to secure the rights to allow us to include a portion of the performance, and to Hansen Multimedia for donating the production of this video.
We remember Sophie and her unforgettable performance in Lucas Oil Stadium.