TCE competes successfully in nationals


Tiffany McCune, Sports Editor

On April 19, 2022, the Tunstall Concert Ensemble, also known as TCE, traveled to Dayton, Ohio, to compete in the Winter Guard Internationals World Championship. A total of 16 students participated in this year’s competition, including two seniors and one eighth grader. TCE competed against 22 different schools from distances as far away as Japan and Hawaii. 

To truly understand TCE,  is very important to know the background behind it when it begins 27 years ago when with Mr. Tim Bray and his wife, Mrs. Debra Bray, established the program.

“We had a marching group already and when WGI added the percussion section, we were interested. My wife and I rode out there to watch and the retreat is what got me. A mass of people sharing the same goals from the east coast to west coast. I decided the kids need to experience that too, so that is when we came back and started TCE,” Bray said.

Now that TCE has been established at THS for 27 years, the acronym “TCE” has two meanings now.

“TCE has two meanings: Tunstall Concert Ensemble, what many know it by, but the group was named because of the motto we try to live by ‘taking care of everything’,” Bray said.

TCE has continued to work towards their goals and dreams by putting in the work and practice, practicing a little over 21 hours a week. TCE has practice from the middle of January to their departure for competition.

“It’s quite the commitment, but if you want to be the best you have to compete with the best. If you want to do the work, you have to compete just as hard as they do,” Bray said.

Further, TCE had to qualify in order to compete in the WGI World Championship.

“We have to compete in a regional within 500 miles from our school to qualify. We hold the record for the most consecutive qualifying for the competition: 27 consecutive years,” Bray said.

Once the students arrive to compete they have many nights of practices, but they ultimately have fun in the end.

“It’s extremely difficult to find a practice site, so we typically get an elementary school because it is not used as much as other facilities,” Bray said.

“Saturday we have some down time and we go to an outdoor mall and Cheesecake Factory and typically we get to watch one of the independent groups,” Bray said.

This year, TCE performed the show called “American Genius,” which consisted of the songs called “Promise of Living” by Aaron Copland, “Candid” by Leonard Bernstein ,“The Earth Song,” by Frank Ticheli, and  “Simple Gifts” by Aaron Copland. 

“If you take the title, the slogan is “The promise of living with optimism on Earth is a simple gift,” Bray said.

After all of the hard work, TCE was awarded sixth in world class after their competition.

“Our final placement was sixth in world class split with Paola High School in California and they got fifth,” Bray said.

“[This was] a challenging year for sure because we had three returning members, and all but two were new at learning their instrument,” Bray said.

After all of Mr. Bray’s hard work he was awarded to the Hall of Fame at WGI.

“It’s overwhelming, humbling, it’s an honor, and it’s still hard to grasp. I’m the 20th over the 40 year lifespan of WGI to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Bray said.