Photo Provided - (From left to right) Three Rivers High School Wildcat Marching Band Color Guard Captain Hailey Boylan, Drum Majors Logann Chrisman and Alex Karabetsos, and Color Guard Captain Izzy Jacobs hold the trophies the band collected as grand champions of the Jenison Invitational Saturday, Oct. 22.Photo Provided - The Three Rivers High School Wildcat Marching Band performs their “Rivers” show at the Jenison Invitational Saturday, Oct. 22.Photo Provided - Members of the Three Rivers High School Wildcat Marching Band celebrate after hearing their score of 92.2 out of 100 points come in during the Jenison Invitational.

TRHS band grand champions at Jenison invitational

JENISON — Three Rivers High School’s Wildcat Marching Band concluded another stellar marching season with a Grand Champion finish at the prestigious Jenison Invitational Saturday, Oct. 22.

The band, led by director Cheryl Thomas and drum majors Logann Chrisman and Alex Karabetsos, won the competition with 92.2 points out of 100, the best score out of all 17 high school bands in five classifications at the invitational, earning them the Grand Champion award for the second year in a row.

In addition, the band won for Best Music, Best Marching, Best Percussion and Best Color Guard in Class B.

“It was spectacular, our band really had their best performance at Jenison, and we are so proud of them. It was just really awesome to see the show at its best and to see everyone give their very best effort in their performance,” Thomas said.

Three Rivers’ marching band performed their show “Rivers” for the competition, which Thomas said was inspired by the three rivers that give the city its namesake. The three songs that were part of the show were “Old Man River” from the musical “Showboat,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel, and “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon.

Blake Vandenbrink had a tuba solo for “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” with color guard solos from Hailey Boylan and Izzy Jacobs. Madison Mead on trumpet and Summer Morrill on horn did a duet in “Let the River Run,” with a color guard duet from Cadence Taylor-Lehman and Serenity Sutton.

“No one would do a river show like us,” Thomas said. “Although those aren’t the pieces that make our city, we thought we'd play off that and bring something to life that could be representative of Three Rivers. It's really neat to do something that's yours and no one else is doing it.”

Thomas said the band was excited when the scores started rolling in.

“They said our score, and we had a 92.2, which is our highest score this fall for the competition season, so we held on to that number. As they kept rattling off all the other scores, there's that moment you realize they haven't said any scores close to ours. I don't think any of them got into the 90s, they were in the upper 80s. It was spectacular and really cool to hear,” Thomas said.

The band received special treatment coming back into the city, getting an escort from the Three Rivers Police Department and Three Rivers Fire Department as they returned from the competition.

“To have an escort happen again this year was awesome, and I know the students loved it and loved driving through the city with all the sirens going and cheering,” Thomas said. “It's awesome to know we brought that home again.”

Thomas praised her band students’ resilience throughout the year, and their performances during the marching band season.

“I'm so proud of their resilience and their dedication to making everything every day and every performance better. I'm proud of them pushing all the way ‘til the final competition and making every day better, Thomas said.

Thomas also thanked her staff, the community, and the band parents for their assistance in making the band the best it could be this year.

“We have a spectacular staff, they're amazing at what they do to bring our students to their best,” Thomas said. “Everyone in our community who helped with props, with uniforms, we have parents who donate snacks and water, everybody who helps with everything to make our marching band what it is, is amazing.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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