Armuchee Grads Travel to National Championship


Destiny Castro, Journalism Editor and Intern

Monday, January 9, Alumni Kayla Hutcherson and Nicholas McCullough participated in the UGA Red Coat Marching Band at the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship took place in Inglewood, California. This year, the Georgia Bulldogs competed against the TCU Horned Frogs. The Redcoat Marching Band had to prepare for their performance at the National Championship through lots of rehearsals throughout the season. Kayla Hutcherson, a former alumni, said “Redcoats requires so much time and effort, but it is so worth it to get to cheer on the Dawgs, travel, perform, and build relationships with 500 of your best friends.” 

Even though High School prepared them for their performances in college, the obstacles in college can never be avoided but can be conquered. Nicholas McCullough, a former alumni, said, “Oddly enough, we only had about 2 hours to practice for this performance! Luckily for us, we already learned the show. It was a tight schedule, but we still made it work.” Although they only had 2 hours to practice for their performance, their preparation and work put throughout the season helped them feel more confident. Kayla Hutcherson, a former alumni, said, “We performed the fourth show that we had learned this year, and we felt well prepared for this performance because of the work that went into it.” With the effort the whole band has had throughout their practices, they were more than ready for the National Championship performance.

The Redcoat Marching Band performed their show titled “Peace, Love, and Dawgs” which included “Battle Hymn”, “Purple Haze” By Jimi Hendrix, “Magic Carpet Ride” By Steppenwolf, “Good Vibrations” By The Beach Boys, “Happy Together” By The Turtles, “Born to be Wild” By Steppenwolf, “Sunshine of your Love” By Cream, and “The End” by The Doors. 

Kayla Hutcherson and Nicholas McCullough were both a part of the Armuchee High School Pride of the Indians Marching Band. Their time at Armuchee schools prepared them for bigger and greater things. Nicholas McCullough, a former alumnus, said, “I can attribute pretty much all musical skills I learned to Mr. Bates, Ms. Hurt, and my drum instructor Justin Jones. They taught me everything I know and are the reason I am here now!” Kayla’s music activities, classes, and lessons she took for music gave her the motivation to join band at Armuchee. Kayla Hutcherson, also former alumnae, said, “Being in high school marching band made the transition to college marching very easy. In addition, the experience that I got from being a high school drum major equipped me with leadership skills that I have used for the past 3 years as a clarinet section leader in the Redcoat Band.”  Mr. Bates, AHS band director, said, “Earning a spot in the University of Georgia’s Redcoat Marching Band is extremely challenging, and these two have done what it takes to make that happen!!!”

Being in the Redcoats Marching Band gave them the opportunity to travel to different places and explore other sites from their norms. Being able to travel to California for the performance gave them the chance to expand their horizons. Kayla Hutcherson, former alumni, said, “Our band got to go to Universal, and that was my favorite part of the trip other than the game!” Not only did they go to provide team spirit and support, they also went to bond as a team and have some fun. Nicholas McCullough, a former alumni, said, “The most memorable part of our trip was getting to go to Universal Studios Hollywood and exploring LA. It was so awesome to experience those with the rest of the band.”

Having two former alumni come so far has inspired AHS. Band Director Seth Bates said, “It makes me incredibly proud to see our students go on to represent our school on national television in one of the greatest marching bands in college football!” Even though they have already graduated from Armuchee High School, they are still representing and making an impact on Armuchee. Mr. Bates, band director, said, “Since I have known Kayla and Nic, they have always been committed to improving! They have a strong work ethic which has allowed them to develop into strong instrumentalists.” Just the fact of getting a spot on the Redcoat Marching Band is a great accomplishment.