More than 1,400 attendees turned out for the inaugural Drums Across the Smokies, a Drum Corps International-sponsored competition held to help raise funds for Farragut High School Marching Admirals band.
Farragut High School Band Boosters teamed up with Music City Drum Corps to host the event, which took place at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field Wednesday night, July 19. The show featured drum corps from across the country and Quebec, Canada.
“It’s great,” Keith Clupper, FHS Band director said about hosting the event. “For the first time being here, everything went really well at the show.
“The attendees I talked to were blown away with the bands,” he added.
“This is a huge first crowd,” Keith Hall, director of Music City Drum Corps, said. “We sold 1,400 tickets. That’s not counting any of the performers or people helping put on the show.
Clupper said the feedback he received was positive.
“The [participants] I talked to were blown away,” he said. “They were very appreciative. I’ve even had parents come up to me and express their appreciation of how nice we were and being able to use the facilities. They were very impressed with FHS athletic director Don Dodgen and [football] head coach Eddie Courtney.”
“The [FHS] stadium is absolutely amazing,” Hall said. “We couldn’t ask for a better facility. This is actually the best stadium we’ve been in so far.”
At press deadline, Hall said he did not have an amount raised from the show, although general admission tickets were $15, or $12 in advance, and reserve tickets were $25, or $22 in advance.
“It costs quite a bit of money to host the show because the judges get paid, so we were hoping — having the show the first year — to break even, but we definitely made some money,” Hall said.
FHS Band Boosters members manned the concession stands, from which the proceeds went to FHS band. Clupper said he thought the Boosters might have raised about $6,000.
“That’s really going to help the budget this year,” he said.
Stephanie Nelson, FHS Band Booster member, said things went well at the concession stand. During a break in the performances, she said, “There’s about to be a big rush approaching. We did well at the beginning, too. People traveled from all over so this is their dinner.”
The crowd heard from Southwinds Drum Corps from Mobile, Alabama; Heatwave Drum Corps from Cape Coral, Florida; Les Stenors Drum Corps from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Louisiana Stars Drum Corps from Lafayette, Louisiana; Legends Drum Corps from Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Music City Drum Corps from Nashville.
Music City Drum Corps took home first-place while Legends Drum Corps of Michigan took home second place. Third place went to Southwind Drum Corps from Alabama.
Hall said participants thought performing at Farragut High School was “just great” and “awesome.”
“It exceeded all of our expectations,” he added. “There had not been a drum corps show for a few years in East Tennessee, so we really didn’t have any idea of what to expect.
“The weather was a little warm but that’s better than getting rained out, which happened two nights before at our show in Virginia,” Hall said. Still, he said participants enjoyed themselves.
“We give 20-plus performances a year, so they practice hard every day, all day and night, so that was definitely our best performance so far this summer, and that was by far our highest score this summer,” he said.