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Photo by Ciera Hughes The Red Bay FFA String Band performs for their classmates before traveling to Indianapolis Oct. 28 through Nov. 2 for the FFA competition. The band – which consists of seniors Myah Jackson, Bailey Bolton and Codey Cleveland, sophomores Aiden Quinn and Cody Wilemon and freshman Jaycee Vinson – ranked in the top 15 out of 42 acts.

Red Bay breaks top 15 at FFA nationals

When Red Bay’s FFA String Band set out for the national competition, the student musicians had one goal in mind: making it into the top 15. After countless hours of practice, they accomplished that goal.

The group of six arrived in Indianapolis Oct. 28 for the National FFA competition, where they competed in the talent portion. Of the 42 acts that performed, Red Bay’s group – which consists of seniors Myah Jackson, Bailey Bolton and Codey Cleveland, sophomores Aiden Quinn and Cody Wilemon and freshman Jaycee Vinson – was one of four group acts.

Last year, Red Bay barely missed breaking the top 15 with a ranking of 16. Members said this year they worked hard to address judges’ concerns to try to advance in the competition.

The group performed Oct. 29 in front of a panel of judges and was named in the top 15 the next day.

“They always represent our school and our students very well,” said Red Bay Principal Lance Mitchell. “They did a great job this year at nationals, especially coming in the top 15. We are very proud of them.”

As part of the top 15, Red Bay’s FFA String Band performed Oct. 31 on television in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, for the chance to be named in the top three.

“They exceeded my expectation of them there, and I was so proud of them as I stood there and watched them,” said Red Bay FFA sponsor Jarod Massey.

Massey said although the nerves were present when performing at Lucas Oil Stadium, he told his students to take a moment to breathe and have fun performing on such a large stage.

“I wanted them to soak everything in and try not to be so nervous that they couldn’t enjoy the moment or the performance,” Massey said.

The band stayed in Indianapolis performing for the remainder of the week throughout the city before returning home Nov. 2.

Although Red Bay did not end up breaking the top three, Massey said it was an experience his students will not forget.