The Clinton High School Marching Band will be hosting the Clinch River Classic competition Sept. 23.
Make no mistake, this is a big time event — 22 high school bands, 1,400 kids, plus parents, grandparents, other relatives, friends, etc., will be in Clinton to watch what these bands have been working on since July.
This marks the 10th year of the classic, and for a lot of bands this is where the whole “work” comes together for the first time.
The 85 members of the Clinton High School Band started in July at band camp. Band Director Matthew Brimstein said band camp is always fun — it’s a new year and new program, the kids are excited, and … well, it’s band.
And it’s work.
“It took 80 hours of work to get the first movements down,” Brimstein said.
The 2023 program is “The Heartland,” and features music by Aaron Copeland and Dolly Parton, plus others.
Like all Clinton High School programs, it’s lavish —yet still kinda simple — and has a lot of what some people call, “moving parts.”
“It will take two months’ worth of work to get it all down,” Brimstein said.
And once it’s finished, it will feature numerous soloists: Sara Boundy, flute; Amberly Clay, flute; Sophia Tipton, clarinet; Isabella Rice, alto saxophone; Jacob Burinda, trumpet; Reece Caton, mellophone; and Will Targonski, banjo.
Brimstein said the whole program will be played during the Clinch River Classic Sept. 23.
Drum majors for the band are Targonski and Leah Hernandez.
To celebrate the event, the director has invited all the Clinton High School sports teams to attend the showing and wear their uniform jerseys.
Team members will get in free for the event.
“I know that my students would LOVE LOVE LOVE to look out into the crowd and see their schools’ athletic teams cheering them on as they perform,” Brimstein wrote in his invitation
Clinton is scheduled to take the field at 8:15 p.m. that Saturday (hint: get there early to get a seat).
The Clinton High School Marching Band is the oldest in Anderson County, and it’s that tradition, that history, Brimstein and the band celebrate. It’s also what the band’s fans celebrate.
Speaking of tradition, Brimstein relies on it to put together the productions the band carries off each year.
“Tim Paul, who was the director in the 1990s and 2000s, works with us,” Brimstein said.
He also has Jamie Taylor (drill) and Matt Weyer (percussion), both former Clinton High School band directors.
“We’re a good team together,” Brimstein said. “It’s cool. I talk with them and get insights.”
And it’s a continuation of the Clinton High School Band tradition — and high standards.
“It really does keep this band’s traditions alive,” he said.
While the “whole show” will see its debut Sept. 23 at the classic, Brimstein said the band has more competitions this fall.
Clinton will take part in the Karns Invitational Sept. 30.
In October, Clinton High School has two more competitions.
Heritage High School will host an event Oct. 21.
The band will close out October with a competition Oct. 28 at Alcoa High School.
“It’s one of those things where you improve with each competition,” Brimstein said.
And, like any team, or in Brimstein’s case — like any coach — competitions from years past are remembered and catalogued.
Last year, the Clinton High School Band competed at a competition at Hardin Valley High School.
How did the CHS band come out?
“Harriman (High School) won everything,” Brimstein said with a laugh.
That was last year.
This year there’s still some work to be done — about 10 days until the first competition — and the band will get better every time the members take the field; whether that’s halftime shows or competitions.
“The kids have really worked hard,” Brimstein said. “They know the tradition we have. They know what’s expected.”