Hamilton High School’s marching band’s recent and historic highest rating ever won in state competition drew the city’s major to the school Friday to honor its members.
Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller delivered a city proclamation to Marching Band Director Paul Dixon and his students in the school’s band room trumpeting their hard work for bringing home the program’s first top-rated performance rating from a state band contest in Piqua.
It was the first, state superior and unanimous rating ever for the beloved Marching Big Blue band, which is annually a point of pride for the entire city community.
The band also earned a superior rating at all other state band contests this year.
“We have to start recognizing you folks when you start getting ratings higher than anytime ever in this school,” Moeller told the band members taking a short break from their regular class schedule.
“You folks are like championship musicians … and I have a proclamation for you because you’ve all earned it. You folks did so well.”
The mayor then read the honor from all city officials telling the students they are heralded for their “unanimous and superior rating.”
“The marching band has achieved at high level and is deserving of great praise,” adding the 200-plus member band “is an integral part of the Hamilton community.”
The short ceremony was also televised on the city’s local cable TV network TvHAMILTON.
Former fine arts director for Hamilton Schools — and now president of the city school board — Laurin Sprague told the students “I can’t tell you how many years we’ve waited to get a (unanimous, superior) rating in regular competition.”
Sprague noted the grueling summer break practices, often in draining heat and humidity, the band members go through as they learned and refined their show performances.
“I know the dedication that you have to have to be part of this group and I want to thank you. And as board president I want to thank you for representing our district in such a special way.”
Hamilton School Superintendent Mike Holbrook cited the onset in 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic for disrupting band and performing arts for the following two school years. He praised the students who persevered through those extraordinary challenges.
“Each one of you should be extremely proud because you’ve made us proud, you’ve made this district proud and your parents proud and others in this city by what you did.”
“You’re going to remember this 10 years from now,” said Holbrook.
The band recently also earned top superior marks in a Midwest regional band competition in Indianapolis, performing in the giant Lucas Oil Stadium downtown.
Senior drum major Kavon Benton thanked the mayor and others on behalf of his bandmates and said “it was great season and we’ve had a great run.”
(Photojournalist Nick Graham contributed to this story)
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