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December 2, 2011 > Irvington sweeps tournament

Irvington sweeps tournament

Submitted By Helen Chang, Photo by West Kurihara

After a three-month season of second- and third-place finishes, the Irvington High School Marching Band and Color Guard won an unprecedented "Sweepstakes" award in no less than three categories - music, showmanship, and overall parade band - at the Lincoln Tournament of Champions in Stockton, California on November 19, 2011.

For the seniors in the group, their last time in the distinctive blue and white Viking uniform crowned an exhilarating and unforgettable marching band season.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, more than 130 members of the Vikings Marching Band and 39 members of the Color Guard performed like never before in front of a review stand of judges on Benjamin Holt Drive. For approximately four minutes, all 160+ high school musicians and dancers played their individual roles in synchronized precision; the unit was greater than the sum of its parts.

Led by drum major Aaron Brown, who placed second in the Mace Drum Major category for the Class AA division, the band played "The Eagle Squadron March" by Kenneth J. Alford. In addition, Color Guard took first place and Drum Line took third place in the division. In the concert band section of the Tournament, Irvington High School's Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band and Ninth Grade Concert Band took first, second, and third places, respectively.

While Irvington High School Marching Band in prior years has come first in various band reviews, this was the first time the school's instrumental music director Charlie Rodda could remember achieving Sweepstakes. Remarkably, the band has nearly doubled in size in three years to its current roll of 138. In the same period, color guard membership has grown from seven to 39 students.

This expansion has strained the band program financially, leaving it $8,000 in debt for uniforms alone. Further growth is expected over the next few years.

Members of the community can view photos and videos of Irvington High's award-winning marching season and support the school's fundraising Band Aid campaign by purchasing a 4GB memory stick for $20 or $18 each for two or more.

For more information, contact band parent Helen Chang at

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