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The Hot Springs World Class High School Marching Band competed in the Region 2 Marching Assessment last Tuesday at the high school.

"We are proud of the hard work and dedication of our Trojan Marching Band. We deeply value any opportunity to safely allow our students to compete using their hard-earned talent and abilities, especially this school year," Superintendent Stephanie Nehus said.

"These competitions provide great experiences and educational/social milestones for our kids, " she said.

Buck Womack, director of bands, said the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association took on the event themselves and sent out judges to the local schools that wanted to participate.

He said the band had its rehearsals at the school and then performed there, as well.

"It was a pretty easy deal. (We) didn't have to travel or anything," Womack said.

The band officials chose to do the marching competition to let their students have some normalcy with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

"We had certain guidelines and restrictions we had to follow. We decided that it was the best for our kids to be able to still do it. We were glad that we could still participate this year," Womack said.

The band had to maintain social distancing in the stands, he said, noting parents could come and watch, but they also had to social distance and wear masks. The students had to wear masks if they weren't marching, but didn't have to wear them while marching.

The theme for this year's show was entitled "Heart" and the music was based on the strength of the ensemble, Womack noted.

"There were some nice woodwind themed solos. So, I knew that we would have some strong woodwind players that would come out and want to audition for the solos," he said.

"It was a show that we felt would kind of fit our school and the direction we were going," Womack said.

The event was open to the public, but they did not publicize it much, he said, noting they did let the band parents know.

"We didn't make it a big publication for people to come and watch. I definitely wanted it to be more of an intimate setting so that parents could come and not have a lot of people around and watch their kids perform," Womack said.

He said the band is trying to keep rehearsals as normal as possible, noting the size of the band requires them to rehearse outside.

Womack said he has noticed his students have risen to the occasion in the face of so much adversity.

"They've had to deal with a lot. The band was nowhere near like it has been in the past. Even for the directors, we had restrictions on us that we had to work around, plan around and continuously motivate our kids," he said.

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