The 13th annual Proviso East High School Battle of the Bands at the Proviso East football field on May 16 was part competition and part tribute to the man who started the annual tradition.
It was an afternoon of competing musical talents and fun for the approximately 300 people who came to watch. The Battle of the Bands featured performances by not only the host Proviso East Marching Band, but also the Proviso West marching band and drum line, the Rich Central High School marching band and drum line, the Windy City All Star Alumni Band, the Ella Flagg Young School Band, and the Proviso East High School Alumni Band, as well as the Proviso East Pirateer Dancers provided entertainment between acts.
The competition itself featured the bands and drum lines performing, with judges from the Central State University (Ohio) band department critiquing them on their music, marching, flag auxiliary, and percussion. Rich Central High School was the eventual winner in the drum line and in the overall categories for large band, while Proviso West won first place for best drum major and best auxiliary.
However, portions of the afternoon were a tribute to Mr. Reginald Wright, who helped start the Battle of the Bands in 2003. Mr. Wright is retiring at the end of the year, and performers and the hosts paid tribute to him. Proviso East alumni members of Omega Psi Phi fraternity honored Mr. Wright with their honorary "gold boots." Mr. Wright, a 1972 alumnus of South Carolina State University and Omega Psi Phi member, wore the boots for the rest of the afternoon.
Others paid tribute with words, including co-host, Mr. Jarrett Artis, a 2009 Proviso East graduate and the drum major for the Proviso East marching band during the 2008-09 school year.
"He built a lot of leaders," Mr. Artis said. "Mr. Wright got me a full ride to South Carolina State. He really inspired me to do it all. This year is for him."
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that the Battle of the Bands is a good showcase for Proviso East.
"The Battle of the Bands is a great showcase for the talents of our marching bands, and Mr. Wright should be commended on the work that he has done," Mr. Valente said. "We need to continue growing this event so that even more people can see what excellent students and teachers we have."
For more photos from the Proviso East Battle of the Bands, please click here
. For video highlights of the performances courtesy of Chicago Marching Bands, please click here.