Fort Mill High School’s Marching Band made it to the semifinals of the Bands of America National Championship and finished at No. 30 out of 100 schools competing at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Bands from 20 states were divided into four classes based on school enrollment with half performing on Thursday and the other half Friday. After those preliminary performances, 35 bands advanced to the semifinals. Five South Carolina bands competed in this year’s event: Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Wando, Byrnes, and Boiling Springs.
Fort Mill scored an 84.45 on Thursday, placing sixth in Class 3A and 15th overall out of the 50 bands on day one. Fort Mill, Wando, and Byrnes advanced to the Saturday semifinals.
In the Friday pre-lims, Nation Ford finished fourth in Class 3A and 17th overall out of 50 bands. The top 16 advanced to the semifinals. Former National Champion Centerville High School in Ohio claimed the 16th spot based on a complex system of scoring.
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At the Friday night awards ceremony, long-time Fort Mill Band parent/grandparent/volunteer Bob Edwards was announced as the 2016 winner of the Patrick John Hughes Booster Award given to one volunteer each year by Bands of America. Earlier this fall, staff, students, and boosters prepared nomination essays and a video honoring Edwards’ 33 consecutive years of service to the Fort Mill Band—from his three daughters’ time in the band to the present. He has four grandsons in Fort Mill’s Band.
Fort Mill finished eighth in Class 3A and 30th overall at the Saturday semifinals. This was Fort Mill’s sixth trip to BOA Grand Nationals and they have finished in the top 30 each time. Byrnes finished 24th. Wando was eighth at finals. Wando and Irmo are the only two South Carolina bands ever to make BOA national finals. Carmel and Avon high schools, both of Indiana, tied with scores of 97.45 and the national title was awarded to Carmel for having the higher General Effect score.