Martin Dickey, director of the Nation Ford High School Marching Band, is no stranger to the state competition. He’s no stranger to taking home the top prize, either.
In his six years at Nation Ford High School, Dickey has led the band to four state championships, including one this year. Among South Carolina directors, Dickey holds the largest number of state wins, with 12.
Dickey and his students really shine on their off nights, when their performance wasn’t quite what they wanted it to be and a first place trophy is just out of their grasp. On those nights, the band members don’t grumble about bad judges or poor weather conditions. They talk about their own performance and what can be improved the next time they march onto the field.
Dickey emphasizes that every time the students march onto the field, they are competing with themselves and should focus on performing their show to their maximum ability. It’s not about the judges or who else is competing against them, it’s all about personal performance, he tells them.
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That’s how champions do it.