LEBANON — Those grueling hours practicing under a hot summer sun paid off bigtime for the Belleville Township High School East marching band during Saturday's Preview of Champions, held on McKendree University campus.
The Belleville East team won the grand champion trophy after posting the highest point total for schools in the 4A, 5A and 6A divisions. Belleville East topped the big school division after finishing first in all the specialty categories: best music, visual, general effect, percussion and color guard.
Alton High School finished second in the large schools division.
Other metro-east schools performed well in the 21-school competition that drew bands from Illinois and Missouri.
* In Class 1A, Carlyle High School won first-place overall after finishing first for best music and guard.
* In Class 2A, Murphysboro High School claimed the first-place trophy after winning for best music, visuals, general effect and percussion. Murphysboro also won the overall grand championship for the combined 1A, 2A and 3A divisions.
* In Class 3A, Mater Dei High School, of Breese, took second place overall after winning first-place for best visuals.
* In Class 4A, Collinsville won the overall prize after first-place finishes in the best visuals, general effect, percussion and color guard categories. Freeburg High School finished fourth overall in 4A.
*In Class 5A, Granite City High School won the overall prize after earning prizes for best music, general effect and percussion. Triad High School won for best visual and color guard.