By Dawn Roberts
The Ponte Vedra High School Ocean of Sound marching band made history on Nov. 17 with its best finish ever at the FMBC State Championship competition in Tampa. Dazzling the crowd with its 2018 show, “The Mistress of All Evil,” the Ocean of Sound was the only band in Northeast Florida to make it to state finals this year, ultimately placing fifth in class 4A.
Preliminaries on Saturday morning featured performances by 89 Florida bands, with only 15 bands (five from each class) progressing to finals at Tropicana Field later that day. This year was just Ponte Vedra’s third year competing at state, having placed ninth in 2017 and 12th in 2016.
“This year was a dream come true for this hard-working bunch of kids, and I’m pretty certain I blacked out for a moment when they announced we had made it to finals,” Band Director Jermaine Reynolds said. “I’m so incredibly proud of how much this program has grown in such a short period of time. Our show this year featured some of the toughest music in the competition and we really pushed the kids both physically and as musicians. I promised them it would pay off, and it did.”
State competition is the toughest of the year, and the judges are marking against a very high standard. Taking critiques from each regional competition during the season, the band pushed to perfect the show leading up to FMBC State Championships. The band defended their Grand Champion status at the Golden Eagle Classic and placed second at both the Echoes of Excellence and the First Coast Marching Invitational regional competitions earlier in the season, while honing the complicated music and visuals in preparation for state.
Senior and band captain, Hope Headrick, said, “I was absolutely euphoric at state and so proud of everyone. I can’t believe that it was just my freshman year when there were less than 70 of us and we were marching in jeans. We’ve come a long way and I know all 27 seniors will miss this band family next year.”
The Ocean of Sound is comprised of 107 musicians and 13 color guard. In his third year as PVHS Band Director, Reynolds acknowledged that the band’s success is not only the result of a lot of hard work by his students, but also the contributions of the parents, his amazing staff, the Band Boosters and the program’s generous sponsors. The band’s new marching season will begin in July 2019.
Photo courtesy Robert Leverock
The Ocean of Sound placed fifth in class 4A at the FMBC State Championship.