Nation Victorious, Again
by Thomas MacMillan | Aug 7, 2012 12:17 pm
Posted to: Dixwell
When Dixwell’s Nation Drill Squad and Drum Corps hit a national competition in Houston, Texas, last week, the other teams started whispering, “Oh God, they’re here.”
Nation has a national reputation as a formidable competitor, said Doug Bethea, who founded and has coached the squad for 25 years. They earned that reputation once more at a national competition on July 31, winning first place in four different categories. The team also won a second place prize, and took home trophies for best band and best leadership, in addition to $1,500 in prize money.
Drum and drill competitions showcase group-choreographed precision footwork backed by complex rapid-fire drum rhythms. Click here to see the Nation stepping several years ago.
Bethea took 46 kids and 10 parents to the national championships, driving 30 hours straight to get to Houston. The team spent a week in the Lone Star state, practicing at night to avoid the 105-degree heat during the day.
He attributed the team’s victories to hard work day after day. The team spends several hours every day getting ready for competition, sometimes getting up at 6 a.m. to run steps at Hillhouse High, Bethea said.
Keara Wilson, who’s 14, and Milani Glass, who’s 15, have been on the team since they were toddlers. They won the leadership award.
Drummers Khalid Fleming, Nehemiah Watkins, and Garnett Credle (pictured, left to right) won the team’s first award for drumming.
“We just stepped it up,” said Watkins. He said the drummers focused on precision and clarity and not playing too loud.
Bethea, who’s 42, said his program keeps kids occupied and gives them an opportunity to travel to other parts of the country, something they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.
“He really just pours his heart and soul into it,” said Teresa Grant, who has two daughters on the team.
Tags: Nation drill team, doug bethea
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CONGRATULATIONS to the wonderful NATION DRILL TEAM Dougie keep doing what you do for our babies the babies of ELM CITY
Dougie has been doing this for the kids at least since I was a high school freshman in 1990. Dougie, you are surely an amazing human being. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. Congrats National Drill Team!
This makes my heart HAPPY! Hugs to Dougie for staying committed to this drill team.
posted by: Channel 1 on August 8, 2012 10:10pm
This is what we should be supporting. Keep up the good work!