OHS Brahman Band to compete in state championship

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee High School Band is set to make the trip to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to compete in the 2018 Florida Marching Band Championship (FMBC) on Nov. 17.

The OHS band program uses six school buses to transport it’s members along with a semi trailer to carry their equipment and instruments. Courtesy of the OHS Band

It’ll be a busy weekend for the program as the very next day, Nov. 18, the OHS Band will also be marching in a parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando. The band will be representing Okeechobee at the Magic Kingdom on what will be Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday celebration.

At the FMBC, Okeechobee will be competing against the top 11 bands in the 5A class in Florida. Out of those 11, six are former state champions.

Band director Clint LaFlam says the competition should be tough in St. Petersburg.

“They are all really good, very well prepared programs,” explained LaFlam. “They’re also different than us because they don’t march every one of their kids. They’ll have 30 or 40 kids who don’t get to march because those programs want to put the best product on the field. My philosophy is that if a kid wants to work for me, they’re going to be on the field. I want every kid to have that opportunity who wants to do it. We’ll have 60 freshman out there with us on Saturday, and we’re still going to have an amazing product on that field.”

The class of 60 freshman that joined the band this year is the biggest influx the program has ever seen. In fact with over 200 members, the OHS Band is the third biggest band program in the area, which includes schools not only around Lake Okeechobee but along the Treasure Coast as well.

The size of the program creates a logistics hurdle that LaFlam, his fellow instructors and the band boosters have to overcome for every trip. The program uses six school buses and a semi-truck to transport the students and their equipment to competitions. To help raise money for these trips the program holds various fundraisers throughout the year, including a cheesecake fundraiser and a Christmas card display in Flagler Park in downtown Okeechobee.

Currently LaFlam says the program is seeking a local business to sponsor a graphic wrap that will be displayed on the semi-truck trailer the band uses to travel to competitions all around Florida.

At one of those competitions, the Crown Jewel Marching Band Festival in Vero Beach, LaFlam says his kids found a little extra motivation from one of the judges.

“One of the judges loved our show and we had another who said the show was too ambitious for my students,” LaFlam said. “My kids took offense to that and they ran with it.

Ever since then they have had a whole new mindset, they’re out to prove people wrong.”

Members of the OHS band pose shortly before their performance at Cypress High School. Courtesy of the OHS Band.

In the following competition at Cypress Bay High School the OHS Band came in third in its class. Then at their district Music Performance Assessment (MPA) the program received the highest rating possible, superior.

The OHS Band is scheduled to perform in the FMBC at Tropicana Field at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, and can also be seen in the annual Christmas parade in Okeechobee on Dec. 8.

The Okeechobee High School Band performs at the 2018 Crown Jewel in Vero Beach. Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Courtesy of the OHS Band.

 

 

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