High school band honored by Select Board

Dec 4, 2018

The Dartmouth High marching band and color guard has a new award to add to its stack of trophies and honors: An official citation from the Select Board.

The board honored the award-winning programs - and the students, staff, and volunteers who make it all possible - at its December 3 meeting, in recognition of achieving first place in the USBands Open Class National Championships three years running.

“We seem to have a dynasty growing in our high school ranks when it comes time for music,” said Select Board Chairman Shawn McDonald.

McDonald commended band members, parents, the Dartmouth School Music Association, and Dartmouth Public Schools’ band and color guard instructors and staff for their tireless work in making it all possible.

“It’s wonderful being the best in New England, but being the best in the country is something to shout about,” McDonald said. “To do it three years in a row… yeah, it’s pretty awesome.”

Band Director Bill Kingsland and senior drum major Valrie Paynton accepted the citation, and spoke about what the program means to them.

“Behind the scenes, what you hear is a fraction of what’s really going on,” said Paynton. “There’s literal blood, sweat, and tears going on in the high school parking lot.”

Paynton said she’s made memories to last a lifetime, and even though her career at Dartmouth High’s band is coming to a close, she hopes to keep up her love of music in college. 

“For me, personally, to stand on the podium and watch as a story unfolds before you, I don’t even think I can describe it,” Paynton said. “It’s just this feeling of absolute greatness surging from somewhere deep inside you.”

Kingsland noted the band program has quite the reputation.

“It’s great for the band, and it’s also really great for the Dartmouth community,” Kingsland said. “You get 100, 200, 300 miles from here and people know of the Dartmouth band, at least in the band circle.”

Perhaps foreshadowing a bright future for the program, Select Board members noted the plaque should have left some extra space to carve in a 2019 championship win.