On October 1st, eighteen bands from West Virginia and Virginia all headed to Princeton, West Virginia, to take part in the third Southern Thunder Marching Band Invitational, “Taking the South by Storm”, at Anne S. Hunnicut Stadium. Participants included our very own Viking Band, the Cabell Midland Knights, the Spring Valley Timber Wolves, and the Capital Cougars; all of whom were in the 4A Division competing against each other. Though it was the third Southern Thunder event it was Ripley’s first time competing. The competition was a six hour affair, beginning with the first class division beginning at approximately one p.m., and ending with the awards ceremony at seven p.m.
The day sent a chill through many in attendance not only from the nervousness associated with wanting to do well, but also due to the nippy weather. As the hours passed, cold combined with wind and drizzling rains to make the event truly miserable, and test the bands’ marching and flag skills even more. Thankfully at the time our band started to enter the field, conditions were clear for the first two numbers, and once it did begin to drizzle again, it was very light. After the Viking Band finished their “Elvis Lives” show, there was one final performance in the class division, and then the judges began to make their decision. As they did, the host band, Princeton Senior High, marched onto the field for their exhibition performance while the judges finished tallying scores. The bands were judged on their marching, music, auxiliary, general effect, majorettes, color guard, and percussion. Despite giving a performance with just a few flaws, our band left with only one reward for second place Color Guard. Though it may not be the sweeping victory we could have hoped for, the event highlighted the areas the Viking Band needs to improve on, and let them know exactly how to fix what was wrong and make for even more impressive showings in the future.