KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Dobyns-Bennett High School band earned its all-time high score, placed tops in its division and snagged sixth highest rank in the nation at the Bands of America competition over the weekend.

Senior Garrett Ford said this year’s victory felt like well-deserved recognition.

“For people to not know what D-B was bringing to the grand Nationals this year, and then to bring it and to show them what we were about and what we could give to the community, I think was really special,” said Ford, who leads the Trumpet section. “To show them that we were a top dog, we were one of the big bands.”

Band director Lafe Cook said the high score was especially meaningful after years of pandemic setbacks. Cook said this year’s seniors worked hard to prove themselves.

“They knew about the band’s historic success,” Cook said. “They had seen as juniors the excitement of the senior class last year. I think they kind of wanted to write their own chapter for the legacy, the band program and high score of all time does that.”

Cook said that the band’s awards included special recognition for music direction, and the overall performance was impressive.

Other top scorers like Avon, Indiana and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma are about twice the size of Dobyns Bennett, Cook said.

Lead Drum Major Ella Haliburton kept the band in time for their victory. She said the hard work was worth the bonds she formed with her bandmates.

“I’ve made so many connections, and I met so many people through band, all of my friends are in band. And just, it was definitely a very emotional last competition because we were sort of saying goodbye to each other,” Haliburton said. “That’s been the most rewarding. And the biggest part for me of band is just the people. And like having a second family pretty much.”