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Minor High School wins national high stepping championship

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MinorBy Jessica Jones

Minor High School returned victorious from the National High Stepping Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
The band has competed in other local competitions, but this was Minor’s first time competing in the National High Stepping Championship. However, this wasn’t Director of Band James Crumb’s first time at the competition. He previously led Carver High School to victory at the National High Stepping Championship in 2003.
Supported by over 50 parents, Minor won their division out of 30 bands, automatically placing them in the finals, and then competed among nine other finalists for the national title.
As if competing at a national level wasn’t enough pressure, the band also had to stay motivated to compete, as the competition came at the end of a long football season that began in July and ended in early November.
“The challenge was motivating them to do this, and motivating them, of course, to do their best because you have no idea of the competition,” Crumb said. “I kept telling them that. These are not bands that you have seen in your immediate surroundings. You know these other bands in the metro area because you’ve played them, or you’ve seen them march before. These are bands that are from all over the country. You just go out there and do what you do and do it the best.”
Crumb’s advice led them to first place, earning them a win that was hard to describe.
“It was a jubilation that words cannot explain,” Crumb said.
That jubilation was not simply because the band won the competition. This was the first competition the school had participated in in three years, Crumb said, because the band had no uniforms. Thanks to the Jefferson County Board of Education, the school was able to purchase uniforms for the competition, and a victory after such a long break only made their success sweeter.
“To see the kids jumping up and down, crying and running on the field and hoisting the trophy up, it was very touching because I do this because of the kids,” Crumb said. “I love doing what I do because I love to see the look on their faces when they accomplish something and this was a very challenging feat that they were able to hang in there and accomplish. So it really was a memorable occasion and it’s something that the staff and the kids and parents will never forget.”
Crumb said he was never doubtful that the students would take home that nationals title.
“I told the kids, ‘I’m really looking at winning this’ and they really did a good job. They were actually 60 points better than second place.”
Crumb talked to the band about winning, but losing wasn’t a topic of discussion. The band competed in the Central Alabama Marching Festival in Selma three weeks before nationals. Crumb used the joy of that win to motivate the students for the high stepping competition.
“We went down there and we won that contest and when we got back I asked the students how did it feel to win, and they said it felt great, winning felt great,” Crumb said. “I told them I want you to remember this feeling because that’s the feeling that we want when we go to nationals. You will not have this feeling if you go over there half stepping. I’ve always told them we’re going to go over here and we’re going to take this and I never talked to them about losing.”
Even though they came home as champions, Crumb said winning doesn’t always mean taking home a trophy.
“I tell my kids that if you put your all into it and lay your best out there on the field, you are always a winner,” Crumb said. “No matter how the outcome is going to be, you’re always the winner, because you have done your best.”

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