Dale Bloodworth wants to make one thing clear.

“I want to make sure the community is recognized for the Lake Martin Invitational,” said Bloodworth, the director of bands at Benjamin Russell High School. “It takes a ridiculous amount of planning. There’s an army of people making sure the event flows.”

He was grateful that the largest high school band competition in the area went off without a hitch.

On Saturday, the Pride of Alexander City hosted 26 area bands at the Charles E. Bailey Sportsplex for the Lake Martin Invitational band competition.

Around 400 staff members and several hundred volunteers coordinated a competition between 26 Alabama high school bands.

“We had 50 band alumni come to assist, some from as far as Florida,” Bloodworth said. “Everything from parking, equipment and seating to water distribution and hot dog grilling was preplanned. There were between 6000 and 7000 people in attendance. You’re going to be feeding all those people.”

The event is the largest fundraiser for BHRS’s band and sold around 3,000 tickets. For Bloodworth the story is about the community.

“I don’t want to understate what happened here In Alexander City with Alexander City people.” he said.

Attendees arrived in the morning,

performed, and stayed until late in the evening for the award ceremony and an exhibition by the Troy University’s Sound of the South. Parents were free to come and go, leaving plenty of opportunity to eat and shop in Alexander City.

“Mr. Bloodworth and the band show is a significant driver of traffic here,” said Ed Collari, president of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce. “Parent and participants are here for quite some time throughout the day. Some even asked me for personal recommendations for locations to shop and dine.”

While the economic impact is hard to measure, the impact on the kids can be seen on their faces.

Shortly after performing, a group of color guard members rushed Tallassee band director Robert Glasscock.

“Guess what I did, guess what I did,” one yells. “I had a no-drop!” she exclaims before he has a chance to answer.

“How do you think we did, Mr. G?” another girl asks.

“If you did your best, that is all we can ask for,” Glasscock replies. “I’m so happy Mr. G,” she says, nearly out of breath.

Last year competitions were canceled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic including the Lake Martin Invitational.

“It was the first band event for most of these schools in the past two years.” said Bloodworth. “When you’re doing it every year, everyone remembers what to do, what to sign up for, what is needed. It was a significant turnout by our community and our alumni that made this happen.”

For Horseshoe Bend High School it was not just the first competition in 2 years, it was also the first competition with band director Dylan Teel.

“This is my first year teaching high school actually, this is my first competition as a band director,” Teel said. “Last year, I was teaching middle school in Columbus, Georgia.”

Horseshoe Bend performed a variety of songs in their show titled “Diva”.

“I like to keep it current really,” Teel said. “I want to keep with [the students’] interests, pick some recognizable things. My first goal is for kids to love what they are doing.”

Their show featured songs made famous by divas including ‘Respect,’ ’Bad Guy’ and ‘Crazy in Love.’

“It was a lot of fun, I missed it a lot last year,” Horseshoe Bend drum major Colton Cook said. “Cause this is so much fun, gettin to come out here and hang with all of your band friends.”

Horseshoe Bend High School scored Excellent overall.

As the Sound of Gold was packing up at the Lake Martin Invitational, a group of moms came running towards the majorettes.

“They all had no drops” a mom stated into a reporter's microphone intent to get it on record. She began handing out towels that read “BOOM, no drop” on them.

Dadeville high school had just competed and spirits couldn’t have been higher.

“It’s great to see all of these performers together again, it's really special for me,” band director Jonny Warren said. “I'm from Ben Russell [High School], it's so great to be teaching in the area. The kids are super excited to perform in competition again.”

It had been over a year since they competed due to pandemic shutdowns.

“Truth be told I think we were harmed by it but there's nothing we can't come back from,” said band capitan Cameron Brooks . “We are the pride of Tallapoosa County for a reason.”

Their band show, titled ‘Overcome’ was a musical conquest of the hardships faced last year.

“These seniors have been through quite a bit with staff changes and school things and the previous director picked songs that were all about overcoming challenges,” Warren said. “Even this year we were hoping we would be closer to normal and we aren’t as close to normal as we had hoped. All the music inspires us to overcome the challenges due to the strange new world.”

The Sound of Gold's performance featured ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’.

Dadeville earned Excellent overall. Majorettes and the drum major scored Superior. Dadeville’s drum major, Tekevious Heard, won best in class “AA” Drum Major.

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