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Alachua County high school bands will compete at state tourney

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The Buchholz High School Golden Regiment Band marches to the beat of their own drums.

That beat keeps moving behind the leadership of Buchholz High Band Director Alex Kaminsky.

“Climbing to the mountain top is one aspect of achieving excellence,” he said, “but then maintaining that excellence is even more difficult.”

This season, the Golden Regiment scaled the mountain, becoming the highest rated 4-A team in the state and earning a spot to perform at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

With the Florida Marching Band State Championships this weekend, high school bands across Alachua County are preparing its students for competition.

For this year’s competition, Newberry High School, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Santa Fe High School, Gainesville High School and Buchholz High School will travel to Tampa and St. Petersburg to compete.

“To send five schools to state from a small county as this, it’s just amazing,” said Jermaine Reynolds, band director for Newberry High.

Reynolds started at Newberry High as the new band director this year.

With his new position, Reynolds came with some big ideas for his small band.

“Alachua County has some monster bands,” he said. “I’ve always said Santa Fe, GHS and Buchholz are like the monsters of his county, and I said there’s no reason there can’t be a fourth one.”

Though his 1-A band is not nearly as large as the other high schools in the county, Reynolds said he has his hardworking students ready to compete, something Kaminsky said is the norm in the county.

“When you have teachers that are committed to excellence on a daily basis, generally the students will rise up to that challenge,” he said.

Ryan Degroff, a Golden Regiment and Buchholz High sophomore, said he is excited to be competing with his bandmates at the state competition.

“We’re gonna do our best,” he said. “I’m looking forward to behind with our band and just having a great show.”

With dozens of other bands competing from larger counties, Reynolds said he believed Alachua will surprise the competition.

“We might be a small county, but like I always tell my band kids: Big things come in small packages,” he said.

Chris Alcantara edited this story online.

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