We've been on a roller coaster this week," says Scott Tomlinson, band director at Bentonville High School.
In the days since losing their assistant director, Zachary Roddy, to a deadly car accident, the Bentonville High School band has found a way to play through the pain.
"We needed to go ahead, " Tomlinson says.
"That's what he would have wanted us to do. So we did."
A day after learning about the 27-year-old's death, the squad competed in Tulsa and walked off the field with a second-place finish.
Drum major Nicole Benedict recalls the emotional performance, led by help from a few fans.
"They made signs that said 'Roddy Would Be So Proud' and they held them up," Benedict says.
"I turned around to salute to that. It was an amazing feeling."
Just days later, the group was on the road again.
"We kept on pressing forward," Tomlinson says.
"We had a big national competition in St. Louis this past weekend."
Tomlinson says they earned a special piece of hardware.
"The goal was to hopefully make finals."
And they did.
Something no other high school in Arkansas has ever done before.
"There was so much determination, everyone wanted to go out and be the best we could," Benedict says.
Just like the tempo of a drum-line cadence, the inspired musicians keep moving to the rhythm of hard work and dedication.
While still, somewhat, under the direction of Mr. Roddy.
"He'd be very proud of the successes that they've had, and the opportunities the kids are going to have in the future," Tomlinson says.
Benedict adds: He would be very proud, he'd be so proud."