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When you’re in the ‘Wildband,’ it’s all precious metal

  • Not even a rush of football Wildcats stops the Oak Ridge High School Band from pregame duties. - Ken Leinart

  • Ben Replogle waits for the cue to unleash either precious metal, or METAL metal during the Oak Ridge High School Band halftime show. - Ken Leinart

  • Kieran Applegate probably won’t throw drumsticks into the crowd while she keeps the pace for “Master of Puppets,” but you never know. - Ken Leinart

It’s tough to follow a really good year.

In 2022, the Oak Ridge High School Band was named the “Top Band” at the Clinch River Classic band competition.

That was in September.

Then in April (2023), the indoor drumline/percussion group came in 10th place in its division at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.

That’s kind of a big deal.

“Sean Rutherford leads that group,” Oak Ridge Band Director Michael Spirko said.

Every year is a challenge. There’s new leadership, a new group of upperclassmen who have to learn how to take the reigns of leadership, new routines to learn, new music to play.

And yes, it all started back in band camp in July.

“Our seniors are really responding,” Spirko said. “We’re off to a great start. They’ve worked hard.

The Oak Ridge High School Band, the “Wildband,” will again compete for top honors at the Clinch River Classic. The members are scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23.

If you see the show, it will be a lot like their halftime show — maybe a little more in-depth, maybe a little different.

“It’s three movements,” Spirko said.

The first movement is music from the soundtrack of “Iron Man,” “mixed in with a little of Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man.’”

The second movement is “Ecstasy of Gold,” some of the background music from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

The third movement is Metallica.

Yep, that Metallica.

The program’s name?


“It’s a little play on the elements,” Spirko said. “Mixed with the music genre.”

He said the kids are loving it.

It’s not every day you see and hear a halftime show featuring Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

There are 115 members in the band. For the “Metal” program, soloists are Alisha Sellers and Lennox Pack on trumpet.

Drum majors are Aleyna Russell and Giada Sachitano.

Spirko said after the Clinch River Classic the band will take “a little bit of a break.”

It won’t compete again until Oct. 21 when it performs in the Waldon Ridge Marching Band Festival at Heritage High School.

Then it will perform in the “Foothills” competition at Seymour High School Oct. 28.

The band — what band isn’t? — is currently raising funds, and in November will begin its annual fruit sale.

“The kids are working hard,” Spirko said. “But they’re having a lot of fun.”

And they’re playing Metallica.