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The Williamstown Band of Spirit arrived home to a hero’s welcome Saturday after winning their fourth state championship in five years.
In their seventh state final appearance, Williamstown High School won the Class A Kentucky Music Educators Association state title at Papa John’s Stadium in Louisville over Beechwood, Mayfield and Murray.
“I’m one of the happiest guys in the world,” said Bob Gregg, the band’s director. “I’m really happy for the kids. It’s great when you can work that hard and things turn out the way you want them to.
“You couldn’t pay for that feeling you have when your whole band has just a wonderful performance,” he said. “It really is priceless.”
Williamstown previously won state in 2004, 2005 and 2007, all with Gregg as band director.
Gregg won three KMEA state championships with Harrison County High School before coming to Williamstown.
The band’s final score of 87.87 was more than three points higher than the score of second place Beechwood.
All six judges gave Williamstown more points than the other three finalists in their class.
“They had just an awesome performance,” Gregg said. “By anybody’s account they did better than they’ve ever done in marching, playing, drumming, flagging and whatever. They all felt so good when they finished the show. We try to get to the point each year that our last performance is the best one. ”
“It’s your last year and you always want to make it the best you can,” said senior Wil Roberts, who plays the trumpet. “But, no matter what the outcome, all you want is a great show at the end.”
Wil’s mother, Claire Roberts has watched her son perform in the band since he was in the seventh grade.
“I can honestly say that this was the most fantastic show that they’ve ever done,” she said. “The level of difficulty in the music they played is the hardest it’s been since he’s been in it. The level of the marching was the hardest they’ve ever done. They still pulled it off. The narration that went with the music just really pulled everything together and gave the whole show a meaning that touched everybody in the stadium. It was just wonderful.”
The band returned Sunday with a parade through downtown Williamstown lined with orange and black balloons and family and friends waving celebratory signs all the way to the school.
Gregg and the band seniors waved to well-wishers from an older model fire truck.
“That’s the best feeling in the world,” Wil Roberts said. “You’ve been pushing through the whole season to try to get things better and better, and after Saturday night on the field at state finals, that’s the end of the big push. You can sit back, relax and have fun. It was great to have everyone come out and support us.”
Claire Roberts said she has never seen anything like the support the band has received from the city of Williamstown.
“I have never seen a community come behind a group of students like our community does,” she said. “They could not be as successful as they are without the support of both businesses and individuals the way this community does.”
Not being in the Williamstown Band of Spirit next year will “certainly be different,” Wil Roberts said.
“I hope if I have time during college to come back and work with the band some more to give back a little,” he said.
The Grant County High School Band also competed over the weekend, finishing eighth out of 16 bands in the Class AAAA semi-finals at South Oldham High School.
“Grant County has a terrific band,” Gregg said. “I was really proud of them this year. I loved their show. I know they worked really hard. I was surprised they weren’t in (the finals).
“What would have been fun is if both Grant County and Williamstown could win a state championship,” he said. “That would be really fun.”