Loudoun County Raiders Win National Marching Band Championship

The Loudoun County Marching Raiders captured one of the nation’s most prestigious marching band titles over the weekend. They outpaced 18 other bands to win the Class IV-A USBands National Marching Band Championship.

The competition took place in Allentown, PA, where the 95-member Marching Raiders faced bands from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Connecticut. Their score of 97.512 was 1.674 points ahead of the second-place school, with standout marks for best music, best visuals, and best overall effect. Their score was the highest of all 79 bands that competed in all of the classes of the competition.

The Marching Raiders are under the direction of Darron Young, Kristy Lemieux, Aaron Bertoglio, Chris McNabb, and Mika Saario, and the drum majors are seniors Sayda Martinez and Megan Hardman.  The Marching Raiders’ show for 2018 is entitled “Light Prevails”.  It combines the music from “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven, “Fly to Paradise” by Eric Whitacre, and original music by Jeff Chambers.  The music, choreography, multiple costume and flag changes by the color guard, and live singing, combined with a moving set of trees takes the audience on a journey out of a dark forest into a hopeful sunrise.  The show features moving solos on flute by Jemison Goforth and saxophone by Nick Wu, as well as beautiful vocals by Sophia Macchiarolo of the color guard.

“These students exemplify how hard work and dedication bring great results,” said Jimmy Csizmadia, the band boosters’ president. “Their parents and their school are proud of them.”

The massive trophy is on display in Band Director Darron Young’s office, where it nearly touches the ceiling.

See a Loudoun Now slideshow of the band hard at work here.

Saxophonist Nick Wu performs a solo at the national competition. [Contributed photo]
Members of the Loudoun County Marching Raiders work hard during a practice in August. [Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now]

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