Lloyd Hinnant, Rocky Mount Senior H.S., NC alumni (class of 1984) shares his experience on what it was like attending this year’s Bands of America Grand National Championships with his son Grayson, who’s a part of the Green Hope H.S., NC Marching Band, and reliving his own experience of his band becoming Grand National Champion in 1983. 

image1 1

The euphoria of achieving everything you had worked toward for three years was unbelievable. The Rocky Mount Senior H.S. Marching Band competed at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in 1981 and 1982, but it wasn’t until 1983 that we achieved our greatest potential and became Bands of America Grand National Champion. I still get goose bumps and tear up thinking about it. All the “set it up, do it again’s, trips, and bonds you build with your band mates are something that I cherish because not everyone gets to experience that high of emotions. 

This year my son Grayson and the Green Hope H.S. Marching Band went to Grand National Championships and I was flooded with nostalgia. Not only was my son about to compete on the same national stage I had 32 years earlier, but his band was competing against some of the same schools my band competed against. 

Though his band didn’t make it to Finals, they left everything on the field and performed like champions. I couldn’t have been more proud and I’m excited to see where this growing marching band program will go in upcoming years. 

Looking back on my experience, both competing then and supporting now, I’ve come to the conclusion that being a part of the marching band taught me three things – 

  • Dedication – knowing your goals
  • Determination – willing to work your hardest
  • Discipline – developing a plan and working on it while learning from your mistakes

Being involved in music has also taught me that having a positive attitude and demonstrating teamwork can help you achieve a goal. I remember those hot summer days on a paved parking lot learning our drill and only one person would complain about the heat before several others would confront that person about adjusting their attitude. 

For those students who are currently involved in different musical ensembles and groups, take time to enjoy the moments and memories you make during your high school band years. Work hard, dream big, and do everything you can to achieve your objectives! You may not achieve every single one, but you will be so much better for at least trying. 

Remember the motto – “If it is to be, it is up to me!”