SYRACUSE - The Corning-Painted Post competition band won the New York State Field Band Conference state championship Sunday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Corning won the Large School 3 division with a final score of 84.700 points - edging Sachem (84.350) and Rome Free Academy (83.850). Rounding out the division was Hilton, Greece, Auburn and East Ramapo.
The competition band consists of 86 members, including 44 wind players, 18 percussionists, 19 color guard members, three drum majors and two field crew members. The band's season began in June and after two months of practice, two weeks of band camp in August and competitions beginning in September - the Hawks went into Sunday's state championship with an undefeated record.
"Having placed fifth in 2015 and then losing to Sachem by 0.05 points in 2016 to place third really was a driving force behind these students' motivation," band director Joseph Stork said. "Winning Sunday brought students to tears as they really have devoted the past five months to this process - and some of them the past four years.
"It means a lot to these students to bring our school the championship."
For the competition, the band performed its production entitled "The Power of 3hree", which has three segments - Pyramids to Holy Trinity to Third Rock from the Sun.
"This number represents strength and power," Stork said. "The students were asked to perform music from some of the best contemporary concert band arrangers in the world such as Nick Baratta, Roger Cichy and Steven Reineke, all while marching choreographed drill and maneuvers. The color guard performed a world class routine designed by some of the best instructors in the country."
According to Stork, his attention was on Hilton and Sachem at the Carrier Dome.
"Hilton had been hanging way too close for comfort all year so we knew that this was going to be a dog race," Stork said. "Having two undefeated bands go head to head, us and Sachem, we knew that nothing was going to be gifted.
"However, watching the students emote through their instruments and choreography in their final performance, we had a very good feeling about the result. That being said, a lot of this activity is very subjective and we know what Sachem was capable of doing (beating us by .05 last year). This was a really great year for Large School III (our division) with the top four bands all breaking their previous high school at some point in the competitive season."
Upon its return to Corning Sunday, the band buses were led back to the high school with a police escort.
"The escort we received was one of the most special moments that I've been part of. It is very indicative of the amazing support this whole program has received from our Administration, Boosters, Colleagues, Parents and of course, community," Stork said. "The instrumental program's goal here is to be the best in the state and one to rival any in the country. It has come a long way with great team work and all of the support we have received. Corning is truly a special place to work and to make music."