The Marion High School Patriot Pride Marching Band will set out for Washington, D.C., on July 2 with a traveling party of 158 students, parents, and directors. The band will be performing in the National Independence Day Parade on July 4 in our nation’s capital.
This is a historic event for the Marion Band, as this marks the first time in school history that the band has performed in this parade.
Selected as the official Arkansas representative more than a year ago, the band members have worked tirelessly to raise funds and prepare for this special event. While in Washington, band members will tour numerous historic sites, including the Smithsonian museums and the National Archives. The Patriot Pride Band was also chosen to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony on July 3 at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
The historic trip will conclude on July 4, with the band attending the concert presented by the National Symphony Orchestra on the Capitol Mall, concluding with the fireworks display celebrating the anniversary of the birth of our nation.
“We are extraordinarily proud of our band, and we can’t wait to see them represent our state at the Independence Day Parade,” said Dr. Glen Fenter, Marion superintendent. “We’ve seen our band program grow tremendously over the past few years, and the things they are accomplishing are nothing short of astounding. Our band students put in countless hours to make these successes possible, and they are supported by amazing directors and an incredible parent support group. We know that music education is a vital component of the academic program we provide for our students, and I am thrilled that our students are getting opportunities like this.”
The Washington trip will culminate a year of triumphs for the band. Over the course of 14 days last fall, the Patriot Pride Marching Band defeated 48 total bands from four different states across three competitions. Later in the year, the band picked up two ASBOA Sweepstakes Awards and saw nearly 100 junior high and high school students earn All-Region honors. Next fall, nearly two dozen Marion band graduates will be attending college on music scholarships.
A closer look at the band’s accomplishments over the past school year:
- The band was named Grand Champion at the A-State Open held at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro. Other awards included Best in Class Drum Major for Kaden Littlejohn, Best in Class Soloist for Littlejohn, Best in Class Color Guard, Best Overall Musical Score, and Second Place Percussion in Class.
- The band earned straight First Division Ratings from all judges at the Region Marching Assessment held in Cabot.
- The band took fourth place out of 13 6A bands at the Arkansas State Marching Band Contest, held at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
- A total of 99 junior high and high school band members earned All-Region honors
- Four band members earned All-State honors
- Both the Marion High School Wind Symphony and the Marion High School Symphonic Band earned the coveted ASBOA Sweepstakes Award during Region IV Concert Assessment.
- For the second year in a row, the Marion School District earned the “Best Communities for Music Education” designation from The NAMM Foundation.
- 10 band members in the Class of 2023 earned college music scholarships, bringing the total number of Marion graduates attending college on music scholarships to nearly two dozen.
- Band member Miller Owen was selected to participate in the nationally televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Macy’s Great American Marching Band is comprised of select students from across the United States.
- Band member Kaden Littlejohn earned the Arkansas Governor’s Award for Musical Excellence, one of the top awards for high school band members in the state.
- The band was named Grand Champion at the Mid-South Marching Classic in Jonesboro. Other awards included Best in Class Color Guard, Best in Class Percussion, Best in Class Drum Major (Kaden Littlejohn), Best in Class Band, Best in Class Soloist (Miller Owen), Gold Division Outstanding Music, Gold Division Outstanding Visual, Gold Division Outstanding General Effect, Gold Division Outstanding Band, and Most Entertaining Band.
- The band was named Grand Champion at the West Memphis Classic. Other awards were for Best Music, Best Visual, Best General Effect, and Best Drum Major (Kaden Littlejohn).
“Our students are in for an experience of a lifetime in Washington,” said Marion Director of Bands Monty Hill. “The success of our program over the past couple of years has given our band program state and regional notoriety. The National Independence Day Parade will give our students even more exposure and let others from around the country know what we have to offer in Marion, Arkansas.”
“On behalf of the band and directors, we would like to thank the community, school board, and administration for their support in this large endeavor,” Hill added.
Following this summer’s trip, the band’s travels won’t be over. The Marion Band has also been selected to participate in the Disney Young Musicians Workshop next spring at Disney World in Florida. During this workshop, students will work in a recording studio with industry professionals to create a magical ensemble piece. The experience will culminate with a screening of students’ recorded work set to Disney film footage.
PHOTO CREDIT: Smith Artisan Photography
The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, a seventh grade school, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit https://www.msd3.org/ or call 870-739-5100.