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Band takes top honors around area

By Staff | Nov 26, 2010

(Chronicle photo by Kelly Cambrel) Drum Major Erin Jones, 17, and Jefferson High School Band Director J.P. Lynch, Jr. show off the band’s awards from the season. Lynch hopes that the hard work and winning season will be what it takes to help the band fund new materials, band uniforms especially.

CHARLES TOWN – The Jefferson High School Marching Band is celebrating its most successful competition season in school history, taking home top honors in events around the area.

The Cougar Marching Band, led by director J.P. Lynch, Jr., took home 14 awards and trophies in various categories at four major events this fall.

The 118-member group competed as part of the AAA division and includes a full band, pit and color guard.

Performing “Gangsta Jazz,” a show set in roaring ’20s style, the band traveled to competitions in Martinsburg, Loudon County, Va. and Richmond, Va.

The show was originally written and performed by the band at Fresno State University in California, but the students at JHS were able to adapt to an advanced show, Lynch said.

“The students rose to the occasion, so to speak, by performing a college-level show. We really struggled with the music the first month of rehearsal. The students, though, kept working and later excelled performing the music and difficult drill,” he said.

The awards earned by the band include Grand Champion at the Loudon Valley Band Competition and 10 first place awards. It also took Best Percussion, Best Guard, Best Marching, and second place overall for Group 4 at the Martinsburg Band Spectacular.

At the Loudon Valley competition, JHS won Best General Effects, Best Marching and first place for Group 4 and the Grand Champion title. JHS earned second place for Group 3 at the Oakton Classic, and at the Richmond Godwin Classic, the band again won Best Guard, Best Music, Best General Effect, second place for Group 4 and Best Music overall. The band placed third overall out of 16 bands.

Lynch is eager to recognize the accomplishments of this year’s band.

“The weather was especially difficult this year, given the extreme heat that we had to endure,” Lynch said. “The students never complained and gave 100 percent effort at every practice and performance.”

It’s his hope that the hard work and winning season will be what it takes to help the band fund materials he feels it needs in the years ahead.

In January the band and its booster club will kick off a uniform fund raising drive. According to Lynch, the band’s look is in definite need of an update.

“Our current uniforms are 12 years old. I’m fairly certain that we have the oldest band uniforms of any AAA high school in the state of West Virginia,” he said.

It is the band’s goal to raise around $70,000, and they hope the community will show support.