The Sun Valley High School Marching Vanguards took Gold at the Cavalcade of Bands State Championships on Saturday, November 14 in Hershey, Pa. Their performance entitled “Witch and Famous,” won first place in the American Open Division of the Cavalcade of Bands, beating out 11 other groups including bands from Haverford, Marple Newtown and Methacton high schools.
The day started off early for the Vanguards, meeting at Sun Valley in the early hours of the morning to practice their routine before boarding the bus to Hershey. Once they arrived at the stadium, they practiced their routine again and began to mentally prepare for what was ahead. When it came time to choose their performance spot, they drew the undesirable #1. However, they did not let this misfortune affect their performance. They delivered an exceptional performance, earning the highest score ever achieved in Sun Valley marching band history of 96.1 and the title of State Champions in the American Open Division. The group also won special awards for High Visual and Overall Effects.
"As a senior, I am so excited to have placed first at Championships," stated Marching Vanguard member, Sydney Lamoureux. "It's awesome to receive recognition for something that we all love and work so hard for. Finishing my high school marching band career as a state champion is the best feeling in the world. I'm grateful to have worked with such talented and dedicated musicians over the past four years, and I'll really miss being a part of the band next year."
It has been an incredible season for Sun Valley's marching band, as they have placed first in every Cavalcade competition this season for a total of seven 1st place wins. Their season begins before the start of the school year. They practice outside Sun Valley in the final days of summer in order to have their routines in place for the first football game and the start of competition season. Their schedule is packed, playing at football games, competing on the weekends and appearing in various parades throughout the year. It is no doubt a huge commitment for all involved.
The Marching Vanguards are under the direction of Tim Pry, who has been Sun Valley's music director for the last 10 years.
Mr. Pry noted “In my 10 years as a director here at Sun Valley, I have never seen this band perform at the level they did at Championships this year. You always want the kids to have their best performance be the one that counts in the end. These kids did just that. When it counted, they pulled out all the stops and left everything they had to give on the field. I'm so proud of these kids. It has been a truly wonderful season working with the students, the instructional staff, and the parent group in putting together such a fun and entertaining show.”
Sun Valley's Marching Band has now placed in the top three for the last four years at the Cavalcade of Bands State Championships. The last time Sun Valley has won a state championship for marching band was in 1981.
Sun Valley Principal, Mr. Pete Donaghy noted “I am so proud of the student members and directors of the Marching Vanguards, and now State Champions! The amount of work this group puts into their season, it is no surprise to me that they brought home the gold this year. The talent, spirit and dedication that these students possess are what allow this group to achieve greatness. The Marching Vanguards are an outstanding example of the high quality students and programs we have here at Sun Valley.”