For the third year in a row, the Newtown High School Marching Band and Guard walked away from the USBands New England States Championships proudly as the Connecticut State Champions Class V Open division, besting four other Connecticut bands and also taking the second place trophy for all of New England with a season-high score of 91.975.
Held last Saturday at Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport, the 123-member group was also surprised with an honor they never expected, as the Nighthawks were selected to receive The Cadets Award of Excellence as the competition’s top achiever of “Creativity, Performance and Overall Effect” for the show Atlantida, the story of the rise and fall and rise again of Atlantis.
The Cadet Award was created in 2011 using criteria that USBands felt “best highlight the areas of band performance, which included the showmanship that Newtown displayed during the New England’s” according to a USBands spokesman. The award had previously been won by powerhouse Dartmouth High School out of Massachusetts, who won this year’s New England Championships.
NHS Band Director Kurt Eckhardt found it difficult to put into words what the Cadet Award and Connecticut Championship meant to him and to his band and guard.
“This show was about us. About Newtown and all we are and how hard we work. And the judges just got and appreciated that, and all these kids have achieved,” Mr Eckhardt said.
The NHS Marching Band & Guard remains hard at work preparing for this weekend’s USBands National Championships, which will held at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, NJ, as well as the Musical Arts Conference (MAC) Championships that are back at Kennedy Stadium on November 9.
“We’ve got work to do and I want to see our band take their great performance to an even higher level,” Eckhardt said.