For a fifth consecutive year, Columbus High School's marching band has quite a bit to brag about.

The CHS band received a prestigious Superior ranking at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association’s annual marching band competition held in Kearney over the weekend. Bands are rated on a 100 point scale. Any score from 55-70 is rated as Excellent while anything above 70 is rated as Superior.

“I’m happy for the students,” CHS Band Director Jeff Peabody said on Monday. “The students are the ones who have to do all the hard work. My favorite part is watching the students see how good they are.”

The 135-member band musters one of the largest sousaphone sections in Nebraska, with a total of eight marching tubas. Back in September, the band participated in its first competition of the season at the 44th annual Columbus Marching Festival. Peabody said the Columbus competition was a learning opportunity. He compared it to writing an essay and having someone else proofread it for the first time. He said after the competition, the band adjusted a few of its formations and focused on articulation as the judges said some of its pieces were "mumbly."

“We came a long way since four weeks ago,” Peabody said. “We learned a lot about who we are and what we need to work on.”

The Lakeview High School Marching Band earned an Excellent rating at the state competition. Band director Wade Howles said his group scored in the 60s, the highest score the band has received for any competition this season.

“They brought their 'A' game, and they brought their best. It was one of the best runs, if not the best run, we had all season,” Howles said. “And I’m very proud of them.”

This is the second year in a decade the 36-member band has performed competitively. Since the Columbus competition in September, Howles said the band has focused on its marching techniques and added a fourth song to its routine.

This year, The Discovers’ marching theme was titled “Land of the Free” and was patriotic in nature. Lakeview’s theme was titled "Around the World” and featured arrangements based off of folk songs from places like Japan, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

Peabody said he made sure the Discoverers' stayed to watch Lakeview perform in an effort to support its Columbus counterpart. In turn, Lakeview did the same.

On the way home, Lakeview was 30 minutes outside of Kearney when Howles said the squad's bus broke down. Howles made a phone call to Peabody and they were able to fit all of Lakeview's students and instruments on to The Discoverers' buses.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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