WHITMIRE — The Royal Regiment Marching Band from Whitmire Community School has always had their work cut out for them. This competitive marching band from one of the smallest schools in the state overcomes obstacles every time they perform.
“It is amazing that a school our size even has a marching band,” declares band director Rob Gunning. “It is even more amazing that we can compete, and many times place!” Such was the case as the Royal Regiment Marching Band took off on their competitive season this fall.
“We were concerned when we realized our band was going to be smaller and younger this year, “explained Drum Major Erin Jeter. “But we kept a positive attitude, and never gave up,” she added.
The competition season started on Sept. 22, when the band traveled to Pendleton High School for the Pride of Pendleton Marching Contest.
Since many contests divide their classifications by the size of the band, and not by the size of the school, Whitmire found themselves competing against bands from significantly larger school sizes, Ware Shoals, a larger class 1-A school, Liberty and West Oak, class 2-A schools, and Seneca, a class 3-A school. Even though Whitmire took third place in the competition, behind Seneca in 1st and Ware Shoals in 2nd, they brought home best color guard and best drum line awards in their class.
The next week the band traveled to Midland Valley High School in Granitesville near North Augusta, for the Mustang Classic on Sept. 29, for their second band competition. The goal of traveling so far was for the band to compete against some Lower State 1-A schools that they regularly do not see. The field included 1-A schools Abbeville, North, and Ware Shoals, and 2-A school Barnwell. The Royal Regiment took second place, following Ware Shoals in first and ahead of Abbeville who came in third.
After taking a weekend off to regroup and improve as per the suggestions of the judges’ from the first two contests, the Whitmire Marching Band was on the road again on Oct. 13, this time just down the street to Clinton High School, for the Clinton Invitational. With only Ware Shoals and Whitmire in the 1-A Class, the Royal Regiment was determined to overcome the band that had placed above them all season. Whitmire took 2nd place again, but did take home trophies for Best Drum Line and Best Drum Major.
The following week, on Oct. 24, the band faced their toughest challenge of the season, the S.C. Upper State 1-A Championships at James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan. Though they would be competing against bands from only 1-A classified schools, the Royal Regiment had to place in the top six in a field of 8 bands to advance to the state marching band championships.
“In many respects we had our best performance of the season,” declared Band Major Haleigh Babb. “We were definitely pumped up to show the state what we were made of.”
The competition was fierce, but the Royal Regiment missed their goal with a seventh place finish.
“All things considered, this has been an amazing marching band season,” Gunning exclaimed. “Though disappointed that the band was not able to march at the state championships this year, we felt we had an outstanding marching band season. We feel extremely proud to represent our school, community, and county in such a favorable way.”
Overall, the band brought home one third place trophy, second place trophies, two best drum line trophies, a best color guard trophy, and a best drum major trophy.