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RB string band competes at FFA nationals

They might come from a small town, but members of the Red Bay FFA String Band have big dreams when it comes to tackling FFA Nationals this week in Indianapolis.

The six-member band arrived in Indianapolis Monday and will stay until Saturday night, performing throughout the city.

“It’s so cool because you get to meet so many new people from all over,” said senior Myah Jackson. “It’s really a learning experience and a band bonding experience.”

Tuesday the band performed “Little White Church” by Little Big Town in front of a panel of judges to audition for the talent portion and will find out Wednesday morning if they made it into the top 15.

If the band makes it into the top 15, they will perform “Jolene” by Dolly Parton Thursday night in Lucas Oil Stadium at 4:30 p.m. CST, broadcast on RFD TV.

After that performance, the top three bands will be determined and will play Friday night, with the overall winner performing Saturday. The band has plans to play “Little White Church” again if they make it this far.

The band will spend the remainder of the week performing their entire set list of 15 songs throughout the city regardless of how they place – but the band’s goal is to learn from last year’s mistakes and improve.

Last year, the Red Bay FFA String Band was ranked 16th, so this year the goal is to break into the top 15. Three musicians of the six-member band were in attendance at last year’s nationals, so they said they have been working hard to nail the things the judges wanted changed last year.

“Last year they wrote on our score sheets that they would like to see more piano parts and more stage presence, so we made sure to work on that this year,” said senior Bailey Bolton. “We have the music down, so now any chance we get, we are focusing on stage presence.”

The band practices in two to three two-hour sessions a week, on top of performing most Saturdays. This particular group has been practicing together since the summer.

The group consists of three seniors – Jackson, Bolton and Codey Cleveland – sophomores Aiden Quinn and Cody Wilemon and freshman Jaycee Vinson.

“We are all like family here now,” Bolton said. “We have spent a lot of time together, so everything we get to do is all just really fun.”