By Chris Starr
Wando band students and extended family members were overjoyed with the 11th place finals finish at the 2009 BOA Grand Nationals marching band competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. The show, Beyond, was presented three times; in quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals. This is the first time that the Wando Marching Band, under the direction of Scott Rush and assisted by assistant directors Sean McGrew and Lanie Radecke, has participated at the national level in a marching band competition. The band recently placed fourth in the BOA Super-regional Competition in Atlanta, prior to Grand Nationals 2009. Island students participating in the competition included Sam Evans, Alex Francis, Mackenzie Hopper, Robby Judy and Garret Visser.
The back story is even more amazing. The Wando Band program does not excel because of funding or birthright. It is a story about students who have learned to pursue excellence because of a shared vision that extends beyond the individual. This success is a direct result of the educational philosophy of Scott Rush and the tremendous outpouring of support from the Mount Pleasant community.
Other bands at Grand Nationals 2009 may have been more technical, but none were more passionate. Emotion erupted from the 232 students through the spontaneous and unified singing of the Wando alma matter in the Indianapolis Hyatt Hotel following the announcement of the 12 finalist bands. Of course, most evident to the ten thousand spectators and judges in Lucas Oil Stadium was the love woven throughout the music performed on the field, generating memories for a lifetime.