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      Wando marching band touts 9-year winning streak

      MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - When the bell rang around 11:50 a.m. Monday at Wando High School, a group of students rushed to the band room, pulled out their instruments and started warming up without a cue.

      Their routine is a sign of practice, dedication and discipline.

      "Every year we have a new group of students that come in," said Scott Rush, director of the Wando High School marching band. "It certainly helps to have a tradition of excellence because they kind of know what they are getting into."

      That tradition helped the band achieve a state championship winning streak. On Nov. 2, the band won first place for the ninth time in a row.

      "Somebody asked me if it got old," said Rush. "And, it never gets old to watch young people strive for excellence."

      This year, the band's performance portrayed the artwork and architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

      "We have a staff of people who all work together to come up with a idea or theme," said Rush. "Each member of the team works in their specialty area to come up with music and drill and choreography."

      But that theme can't be successfully portrayed without the hard work of the students.

      "We have rookie camp to introduce the new students and then band camp which is 13-hour days all week," said Emma Gierscal, drum major and a senior. "Then, we have three rehearsals that are two hours each every week."

      For some students, dedication to band also comes with lessons that can be used throughout life.

      "It's not going to be handed to us," said Katie Powell, drum major and clarinet player. "You've got to do the work for it. They're not going to automatically put us down for No. 1 just because we're Wando."

      A ninth consecutive win only fuels the desire for win a tenth.

      "It's a big year for everyone," said Kyle Collins, a drum major and trumpet player. "For my senior year, that's ridiculous. That will be awesome to have."

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