For the third time in recent history, Conway High School’s marching band took top award at the Showcase of Bands Invitational held at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

Director Tim Cunningham said 47 high school bands "from every corner of the state" met at the stadium Saturday to compete against schools in 2A-5A divisions.

Conway band students numbering 251, from grades 10 through 12, claimed the 4A and 5A division’s Brandon Award.

Cunningham said the award is the top at the invitational competition.

Conway also received Outstanding Soloist for 5A schools. The winner was Austin Westjohn for his trombone solo.

Conway took the award for drum major for the collective work of Ian Shrum, Kaycee Gifford and Mary Hales.

Outstanding Color Guard also went to Conway’s band.

The band overall received Outstanding Marching Band, Outstanding Musical Performance and Outstanding Band in the 4A and 5A classification. 

Conway’s marching band claimed the Brandon Award in 2004 and 2007 previously.

"I’m proud of how the kids responded and of the work they put in. It’s a nice reward for these kids for the amount of work they put in. It’s nice to be able to see the result," Cunningham said. 

According to Cunningham, Conway district students in the band program number between 900 and 1,000.

Those credited with the band’s success are Cunningham, Dewayne Wilson, 10th-grade band director, Paul Taylor, assistant high school band director, Jan Cunningham, director, Krista Spainhour, ninth-grade band director, Todd Johnson, seventh-grade director, Sheila Brooks, Chris LaCerra, Christian Carichner, Steve Smyth, Marie Pollard and Stephanie Lamar.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at