The Jefferson High School Marching Band is experiencing a season of firsts.
After a first time, first place win at the Martinsburg Band Spectacular last weekend, the band received news that they've been invited to perform in next year's National Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C.
According to JP Lynch, the band's director, the Martinsburg competition marked a milestone for the band, made up mainly of relative newcomers.
"Saturday was a big day for our band program. Close to 70 percent of our band is made up of freshmen or sophomores. To come out with a win with such a young group is very exciting. Mrs. Elliott, our assistant director, and I are very proud of the students' accomplishments to this point in the season," he said.
With the show "Rise of the Samurai Warrior," by Gary Gilroy, the band placed first in Group 4 competition on Saturday. The band also won Best Guard, Best Marching, Best Music and Best Drum Majors in Group 4.
The show's Battery Percussion is by Shawn Glyde and the Sakura interlude was arranged by JHS Band Alumnus Kaziah White.
Lynch said that though JHS's band has had success in the past, it doesn't usually fair so well in a competition format like the Martinsburg Spectacular.
"The Jefferson High School Band has never had much success at Tournament of Band competitions. This was our first win at the Martinsburg Tournament of Bands show in our school history. This win has been very special for the students and band staff," he said.
Lynch explained what an honor the Cherry Blossom performance will be for the band.
"Scores of bands throughout the country submit applications for consideration to be included in the parade. Only 10 to 12 bands from different states from across the country are selected. To march through the streets of D.C. will be very special for our band students," he said.
In part, Lynch credited the work many have done to get the students new uniforms, for their selection for the Cherry Blossom Parade.
"Mrs. Elliott and I have to give a big thanks to our Band Boosters, JHS administration, community leaders and, most of all, Ms. Wall and our board of education for helping us buy our new uniforms last year. Our new look has drastically improved our chances of being selected for major events like the Cherry Blossom Festival. The students noticeably march with more confidence and pride now that they have a new and improved look," he said.
The band will next perform at Jefferson High School's Homecoming Game versus Musselman High School on Friday, Sept. 28.
Their next competition is the Musselman Tournament of Bands Competition on Saturday, Oct. 13, followed by a performance at the Apple Harvest Parade on Saturday, Oct. 20 and the Tournament of Bands Chapter Championships in Martinsburg in Saturday, Oct. 20.