Athens Drive Band

Savannah Allred, News Editor

     The Athens Drive Marching Band set a record in 2016 by taking Grand Champion in three of five competitions. The Athens Drive band won second place in a competition Oct. 29 2016 out of 27 schools.

     “It is very satisfying because we did not compromise our philosophy in earning these awards.  Our goal in every performance is to do our best and to use rehearsals as a way to strengthen and improve what we do.  We always perform to an audience, NOT judges.  Nor do we hunt for or chase awards,” said Jerry Markoch, Band Director at Athens Drive.

      Additionally, director Jerry Markoch won the Kenneth E. Ginn Award of Excellence as best band director. Markoch is currently in his 29th year as Director of Bands at Athens Drive High School.

     “I am humbled to be recognized as an outstanding teacher in my chosen field. I believe teaching is one of the most noblest careers–and one of the most difficult to master. It encompasses ALL parts of a person–mind, body and soul. The challenges are endless, but so are the triumphs.  At the end of a day, it is so rewarding to know that you may have made a difference in a student’s life,” said Markoch.

     The band has grown to nearly 200 members this past year and has earned honors including “Superior” ratings at the North Carolina Concert Band Festival. Throughout the years, the Athens Drive Band has had performances in New York, Indianapolis and Winston Salem.

     The Athens Drive band have also said to have traveled to Busch Gardens, Hersheypark, Washington D.C., Walt Disney World and to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band department staff at Athens Dive includes Peter Connell, John Antonelli, Jennifer Mason and Wes Parker.

     “This is one of my favorite parts of Marching Band–that we are the #1 ambassador for our school and community.  Athens Drive is a GREAT school!  We’ve got a population that mirrors the diversity of our country, we’ve got great teachers and parents, and we want to make a positive difference in our world!  When the water in a harbor rises, all ships rise; when the Marching Band or any other organization does well, EVERYONE at Athens lifts,” said Markoch.

     In the past several weeks, the Athens Drive Band has participated in the Cary, Raleigh and Apex Christmas parades. The Athens Drive marching band is also applying to perform in the Rose Bowl’s Rose Parade in California and are scheduled to be in next year’s Outback Bowl in Florida.

     “We are looking forward to marching in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida for New Years Day, 2018.  We are also hoping to break a record in band size next year marching over 170 students.  One of my career goals is to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.  We have been applying for this parade for several years and are close to being accepted.  It would be the highest honor that a marching band can receive and it would be something that our school can boast about forever,” said Markoch.