The student news site of Oakton High School

Oakton Outlook

The student news site of Oakton High School

Oakton Outlook

The student news site of Oakton High School

Oakton Outlook

    How it Feels to Win a National Competition

    Oakton band on winning the Metallica competition: “For Whom the Band Tolls”

     

    Just a few weeks ago, the Oakton High School marching band found out on national television they had beat out 450 colleges and high schools across the country and won the small bands category of the Metallica Marching band competition: “For Whom the Band Tolls.” After this incredible feat, the band won $15,000 in band equipment and a satisfactory morale boost. 

     

    Jamie VanValkenburg, the band director at Oakton, is beyond thrilled. He expresses his gratitude towards his students by saying, “I’m very proud of them [and] they worked very hard.” Above all, though, VanValkenburg is shocked by the amount of recognition Oakton’s band is deservedly getting. “It’s just kind of unbelievable,” he continues, “People I haven’t talked to in years have sent me Facebook messages and emails just to congratulate our program. It’s really a one of a kind experience.” VanValkenburg has also been juggling interviews from top news outlets such as the Washingtonian magazine, the Washington Post, WTOP, Fox 5 DC, and WUSA 9. As if that weren’t enough, VanValkenburg reveals that it was an even deeper experience for him, since Metallica is his favorite band. “It’s personal for me,” he states, calling Metallica an “iconic band.” “Everyone knows who they are, and everyone knows ‘Enter Sandman’,” he laughs. 

     

    Terran Henderson, a student drum major, also speaks about what it felt like to win a national competition and what this will mean for the future of Oakton’s marching band. “Just having the experience and the excitement from winning a competition like this will probably help our attitude in the future,” he comments, “[However], we probably will not do [the show] again in the near future because we don’t like to repeat shows.” As for preparation, Henderson recounts how the band got ready for football games, local competitions, and the Metallica competition. “The show was something we used for [all three],” he says, “So we’d practice the show and then we’d go out and do football game stuff and then we’d go out and do competition stuff. They’re actually really the same thing.” No matter how similar the shows were, juggling the regular marching band season requirements with the Metallica competition was no small ordeal. According to Henderson, Oakton band is “very disciplined” and their show was “very put together, detailed, and clean” which set them apart from the other bands/contestants. 

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    About the Contributor
    Isabella Ingrao, Design Editor
    Hi, my name is Isabella Ingrao and I'm a junior at Oakton. This is my third year on the Oakton Outlook staff, and I'm excited to be the head design editor on the editorial board. Currently, I mostly enjoy writing and editing lifestyle and sports stories with a specific interest in design. Outside of school, I play soccer, field hockey, and pickleball. I’m also the VP of Communications for NCL, and I enjoy coaching and lifeguarding in my free time.