Although they had yet to adopt the name “The Force” as the movie “Star Wars”  had yet to debut, The Winchester Community High School band was a force to be reckoned with in 1976. Under the direction of Max Jones, the Falcons were defending their Class B state title and making an attempt to win their third state title in a row. The success of Winchester’s marching band is well documented. What might surprise readers is that another Randolph County Band was also performing in the State Finals that year.

Union High School, under new band director Wayne Hinkel would be making their fourth appearance at State Finals. Neither of the two bands fared as well as they would have liked. Winchester narrowly missed their third championship in a row placing second to Princeton. Union ended up placing eighth in Class C. Not a bad job for a new director.

All was not down for Winchester though as the band was soon preparing for their trip to Philadelphia to be in the Gimbel’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Members got to meet the Grand Marshall of the parade, famed baseball player Hank Aaron. News-Gazette Reporter Janet Fuller praised the commentary by Isabelle Sanford of “The Jeffersons” who said, “This is a championship band and you can certainly see why, they look magnificent.”

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