Members of the Unicoi County High School marching band perform during the Hilltopper Invitational on Oct. 20. The band won several awards at the annual event. (Contributed photo by Chris Prillhart)

From Staff Reports

On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Science Hill High School Topper Band hosted the 6th Annual Hilltopper Invitational marching band competition at Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City. This year’s event welcomed 14 high school bands from across East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Each band performed a unique show which was scored by a panel of six judges in the areas of Music, Visual Effect, Percussion and Color Guard. Competitors in this year’s Invitational included: Pigeon Forge High School, West Greene High School, Chuckey-Doak High School, Twin Springs High School, Sequoyah High School, Cocke County High School, Unicoi County High School, David Crockett High School, South-Doyle High School, Volunteer High School, Carter High School, Greeneville High School, Cherokee High School and Maryville High School.

The Unicoi County High School Marching Blue Devils took home first in Class AA. The band also took first place in both Music and Visual Performance for the small class division. The UCHS percussion also won first in the AA division.

The awards ceremony concluded with the announcement of the Hilltopper Invitational’s 2018 Grand Champions. This award is given to the top scoring bands in each of the small band (Classes A and AA combined) and the large band (Class AAA) divisions. The UCHS Blue Devil Band claimed the title of Grand Champion of the small band division.

The Maryville High School Red Rebel Band made the trip home as the Grand Champion for the large band division. Winners of this regional competition include the following for First in class: Class A, West Greene and Class AAA, Maryville. Maryville was the first place winner in Music for the large class division, while Volunteer won for Visual.

In Percussion, Class winners were West Greene (A) and Volunteer (AAA). In Guard, first place went to Chuckey-Doak (A), Cocke County (AA) and Volunteer (AAA).

The competition was funded, in part, by Arts Build Communities, a program funded through the State of Tennessee Specialty License Sales, and administered in cooperation with the Tennessee Arts Commission and First Tennessee Development District.