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New Trophy Introduced at Marching Contest

Linna Jones
Arts & Entertainment Editor 

Photo by Eric Bell
Winners - Sheridan High drum majors Moriah Patterson, Cortney Blundell and Samantha McKinzie pose with Chancellor Jack Lassiter and UAM drum major Justin Anders after receiving the "Big Bill." Kappa Kappa Psi presents the trophy for the first time in the contest

   Kappa Kappa Psi presented a new trophy honoring a former University of Arkansas-Monticello band member at the Kappa Kappa Psi Invitational Marching Contest Tuesday, Oct. 16.

    Kappa Kappa Psi named the trophy the "Big Bill." The band that wins the “Big Bill” takes home a 6-foot trophy to keep for one year and will receive free entry to the next marching invitational.

   The winning band keeps the plaque on the trophy and brings the trophy back to the contest next year. The judges at the contest select the best band to receive the trophy. This year the judges selected Sheridan High School as the winners of the “Big Bill.”

   Gary Meggs, director of bands, said bringing the trophy back gives the bands incentive to fight to win it for another year.

   “(The) band keeps the plaque, and when they return (the trophy), they desperately try to keep it,” Meggs said.

   The “Big Bill” honors James Nelson King, Jr., known as “Big Bill."  He marched with the UAM band in the early 1970’s. His drum technique both entertained and wowed the crowds at home games in the Convoy Leslie-Cotton Boll Stadium. King died July 6, 1974 at age 2l.

   Samantha McKinzie, one of the three drum majors for Sheridan High School, said she felt good about the performance and it took a lot to get there.

  “Amazing; we did an awesome job tonight,” McKinzie said. “It takes extreme dedication to get this good. I've never been prouder of Sheridan band.”

   The judges for the contest included Walter Moss, band director of Ruston High School; Robert Freeman, band director of West Monroe High School; Chase Carter, band director of Lavaca High School; and Allen Wimberly, band director of Gurdon High School. Moss judged percussion, while Wimberly judged musical ensemble. Rodney Block from Little Rock judged auxiliary and drum majors.

   The Kappa Kappa Psi Marching invitation started 25 years ago as a service to local high school bands. Judges rate performing bands in several areas including musical ability, marching ability and entertainment quality. Many schools from around the state and even Texas and Louisiana travel to perform at the contest.

   “(It is the) biggest contest we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Meggs said. “I think it is because the UAM band is better and we draw a lot of attention to the school.”

   Over 18 bands participated in this contest this year.

   Have a comment? Please e-mail us.

ŠThe Voice 2007
Revised 09/17/2007 08:12:03 PM —