ECI band finishes season with competition in Wayne County


Emanuel County Institute’s marching band has closed its competition season, doing so in style with numerous awards from the Deep South Classic at Wayne County High School.

The Spirit of the Dawgs traveled to Jesup on November 6 and competed against five other schools from various classifications. ECI’s performance that day won them the following honors: superior drum major, superior danceline, superior percussion, excellent overall band, third in Class A drum major, and third in Class A overall band.

In doing so, the Spirit of the Dawgs added to the numerous awards garnered previously in the season.

Back in September at the Band Blast at Southeast Bulloch High, the group won superior drum major, danceline, percussion, and overall band honors.

The band had two competitions in October, one at Pierce County High School and another at Strong Rock Christian School.

The October 16 showing at the Sound of Silver was the group’s best performance of the year. At this competition, the Spirit of the Dawgs brought home the distinction of superior drum major and percussion, excellent danceline and overall band, the overall spirit award, second in Class A drum major and danceline, and first in Class A percussion and overall band.

The success continued on October 23 in Locust Grove for ECI as the group won superior drum major and danceline as well as excellent percussion and overall band accolades.

Between the four competitions, ECI racked up 11 superior ratings, five excellent ratings, two third-place finishes in their classification, two second-place finishes for their classifications, two first-place finishes for their classification, and one overall award.

Director Ashley Akridge is extremely proud of this year’s band, given how far they’ve come since the beginning of the summer.

“We started this season back in July with the hopes of putting on a fun Friday night show and attending one, maybe two competitions, just for the experience of going,” she said. “We had no idea what this season had in store for us.”

Her roster of 26 experienced a small taste of success at the first competition in Brooklet and came to practice with a renewed sense of drive.

“After the first competition, they showed up to practice that Monday with a new attitude and wanted to do even better in their next competition,” Akridge continued. “Their hard work, passion, and dedication led them to earn many accolades during this season, including a Best in Class at the Sound of Silver. That’s a big accomplishment. I have been blown away by our group this year and everything they put into making this such a meaningful and successful season.”

Of course, every team has its leaders. For the Spirit of the Dawgs, those were: band captain Ohm Patel, drum major Jackelyn Herbert, percussion captain Joshua Flanders, brass captain Conner Merier, danceline captains Shelby Roberson and Toddriana Watson, equipment sergeant Brack Flagler, and librarian sergeant Aleigha Ducker.

Others on the roster for 2021 included: Claire Akridge, JoAnna Arms, Caleb Clements, Carolyn Cox, Evie Dowd, Cailey Fann, Lillie Hammond, Jayden Henry, Braeden Hooks, Wallee Kersey, Blake Librizzi, Madison Murray, Lacey Pierce, Reese Raines, O’Zion Reese, Caroline Salinas, Maggie Smith, and Aaron Spears.

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