The Coffee Press

The Last Tango — The Family That Grows Within

Photographed by Kate Craighead, Arin Stout, and Brayden Rigsby

Photographed by Kate Craighead, Arin Stout, and Brayden Rigsby

Ann Petty and Farrah Fletcher

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The Contest of Resilience brought marching season to an end for the Coffee County Red Raider Marching Band.

This year the Contest of Champions, which has been going on for 50 years at MTSU, was canceled because of the White Lives Matter rally, but the band performed its final tango at Spring Hill High School.

Along with the Contest of Resilience in Spring Hill, the band has attended two other competitions this year: Station Camp, as well as Colombia where the band won first in their division and fourth overall.

When asked about her thoughts regarding this year’s season, Kara Roper said, “At the start of this year, I knew it was going to be different than last year. I was now a leader with new responsibilities, and the seniors had graduated, leaving us with many spots to fill. It was strange having people — somewhat — looking up to me when I was still fairly new. We had some join who had zero experience with music other than turning on Spotify. It was challenging, but that made me want the band to succeed even more. The season seemed to fly by. Many people stepped up this year and put their heart in the show, whether it was having an extra sectional or staying to help people put up their instruments. There is always something to improve upon, but I believe that, all things considered, this was a good season.”

Photographed by Kate Craighead, Arin Stout, and Brayden Rigsby

An anonymous band student said, “This season has been different than every other season, but I could also say that no season is ever the same as the last. But through all its disappointments with canceled competitions and canceled performances, we really grew as individuals and as a band. We put a great deal of hard work into the show this year, and even if we weren’t the top band at everything, we knew the work we had put in and the growth we had seen, and that’s really what matters.”

Finally, Band President Bayleemay Walker commented, “This year has, by far, been the most interesting of the four years. Almost half the band are freshmen this year, making the old terms this year become new again. This year the saying, ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ has definitely made an appearance. We pushed hard, and I feel we did okay by the end… It could have been worse, but all the hard work was put to the test. With not performing at many competitions, some [members] did not know what to expect. I hope for a better season next year, but we should have all learned the true meaning of patience.”

I will always love the family that grows within.”

— Bayleemay Walker

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The Last Tango — The Family That Grows Within