Marching Band wins Tournament of Champions


Minh Jurgens

The marching band poses with the grand champion trophy after winning the Tournament of Champions.

On Saturday, the Marching Cavaliers competed in the Tournament of Champions at Mechanicsville High School and took home the title of grand champions over 12 other teams. 

The Cavaliers’ overall score of 87.313 was the highest in the competition. They earned the win after each team performed and the judges rated them in seven categories: general effect (GE) music, GE visual, ensemble music, ensemble visual, percussion, color guard and drum major. It was Clover Hill’s first grand championship win in four years. 

Drum major Eli Borum is ecstatic that the marching band was able to come out on top in this year’s competition.

“Winning the Tournament of Champions felt amazing,” Borum said. “It’s always nice to see everyone’s hard work pay off in such an amazing way, and I’m really excited I got to share this experience with this group.”

Junior Julie Bainter was similarly excited and surprised when Clover Hill won because the Tournament of Champions is one of the most important competitions for marching bands.

The Marching Cavaliers prepare for their performance. (Minh Jurgens)

“I am a member of leadership, so I was down on the field during the awards ceremony and all of us were in complete shock when our school name was called,” Bainter said. 

Their Marching Cavaliers’ score was nine points higher than their first and most recent competition at Drums Along the Boulevard in Virginia Beach on Sept. 17. Bainter feels that the practice the band has put in since then led to the improvement because performing is more natural. Once the band mastered the basics of their performance, they were able to start working on the smaller details. 

“Since more things are just muscle memory at this point, I’m able to focus on the details and add another level of perfection to my performance,” Bainter said. 

Borum credits the jump to the band members’ dedication and the bonds they have formed with one another since the season began. 

“As the season has progressed, the marching band has become a more tightly knit community, meaning we can work harder in rehearsals and play harder outside of rehearsal,” Borum said. “As the competition drew closer, the members became more focused and more dedicated, leading to more productive rehearsals. The band wanted to win, and you could feel that in the air.”

Members of the band huddle together on the field during the competition. (Minh Jurgens)

Borum believes that the mix of practice and the band’s will to win manifested in their performance at the Tournament of Champions. 

“This performance was the culmination of everyone’s hard work and dedication, and every single member of the band gave it everything they had,” Borum said. “Every little detail that we had worked on came together; every articulation was a little more defined, every crescendo and decrescendo a little more impactful and every big moment became a little bigger.”

Despite becoming grand champions, the band’s mindset is that they need to keep improving ahead of the state competition on Nov. 5. Borum is confident that the band can earn the title of state champions if they continue to polish their performance. 

“I believe we are fully capable of winning at states, and I hope that we can make an even larger jump in score at our next performance,” Borum said.