School has been out for more than a month, but the Carroll County High School Marching Band is hard at work preparing for the performance of a lifetime.
On July 4, the Marching Cavaliers will be one of just a select few bands nationally to participate in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C. Beginning at 11:45 a.m., the CCHS Marching Band will perform ‘Spirit of America’ as they march the mile-long parade route along historic Constitution Avenue. As if the invitation itself wasn’t a big enough honor, the Marching Cavaliers were nominated by United States Senator Mark Warner, a former Governor of Virginia.
“It’s really exciting and we are really grateful to have this opportunity,” said CCHS 2017 graduate Jennifer Hooven, who plays clarinet in the band. “It’s kind of like a dream, like you wouldn’t expect that you would go through this, but it is pretty cool.”
Like Hooven, Jake Landau is another recent graduate of Carroll County High School who will be taking part in the parade. A trumpet player, Landau plans to major in music as he begins his college career this fall at George Mason University. He said the opportunity to come back and join the band for the historic event was just too good to pass up.
“It’s great. The band played at graduation and the seniors got to join in that last time and it was nice knowing that wasn’t the last time I would be playing. I just want to hang on to it for as long as I can,” Landau said. “I never would have expected this to happen to little old Carroll County High School Band and I certainly didn’t think I would ever be a part of something like that.”
While the Carroll County High School Marching Band has won many competitions in recent years, it’s only experience in parades has been Christmas and Veterans Day parades locally. That makes marching in the national parade that much more special.
“This is really big for us. It’s a little nerve-wracking to think about that many people,” Hooven said. “It’s something I really wanted to be a part of. I am sure all the graduated seniors thought that, too.”
Although Landau is preparing for a career in music, he said the National Independence Day Parade will be the biggest performance of his life. For Carroll’s underclassmen, he said it will be a huge motivational tool to keep them going in the high school band. Additionally, he said the support the band receives at CCHS is second to none.
“I would like to say in this community we have a lot of really good local support for the band and the arts. Even in class we hear football players talking about how great it was to have the band at the games,” he said. “And we are there for them and we are there for the community and so it’s nice we are appreciated.”
CCHS Band Director Michael Farina said the Marching Cavaliers already have the song learned for the July 4 parade and are now working on getting conditioned for the scorching July heat in the nation’s capital. The song they are performing, ‘Spirit of America,’ is a compilation of patriotic tunes, including The Battle Hymn of the Republic and America The Beautiful.
“It’s a good song. It’s good for the kids to play and it’s different. I don’t think anybody else there will be playing it, so we will kind of have our own thing,” Farina said.
It’s still hard to believe the CCHS Marching Cavaliers were selected for the historic parade by Senator Warner, Farina said.
“That just doesn’t happen. You can fill out an application and go through a big process, but we were automatically in because of the nomination,” Farina said. “I’m honored because I try to do the best job I can teaching these kids and trying to get them to perform, so that means people see it. And for them to be recognized for the hard work they do, that means a lot to me. This will be something they remember for the rest of their lives and I am proud I get to do that. I am not the only one, don’t get me wrong. The parents and administration and everybody, this wouldn’t happen without them. But as far as my band getting to do it, that means a lot to me. That is better than any trophy we could get at a competition, these memories we are getting ready to make.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN