HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Oakcrest High School Marching Ambassadors competed against 29 other bands in the Tournament of Bands Group 2A Atlantic Coast Championships held at Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They competed against East Coast teams from New York to Virginia and as far west as Ohio.
The trip was certainly worthwhile, as when the judges’ results were tabulated it was announced that the Marching Ambassadors had captured first place with a score of 95.81. The band was also recognized as the winners of best music, best visual and best color guard.
The victory capped an undefeated season for the Marching Ambassadors. The previous week the band traveled to Central Regional High School for the Tournament of Bands NJ State Championships and Kingsway Regional for the Tournament of Bands Region 1 (South Jersey) Championships.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Marching Ambassadors were victorious at both competitions while winning many other awards such as high music, high visual and high color guard.
“I am extremely proud of the students' achievements,” band director Rick Schwartz said. “We asked for a lot and challenged them every rehearsal. The students took the challenge and delivered a great season. This successful season could not have been achieved without the hard work of the Oakcrest Ambassadors staff: Fred Washington, Richard Tinsley, Xavier Patterson, Lynnette Ruiz, Logan Findeison, Shilo Previti and Megan Buskirk.
Members of the band were pleased with their performance.
“The feeling coming off the field at first was confusing yet exciting as people around us were crying,” said wind captain Katelyn Diaz, a 16-year-old junior of Mays Landing. “We knew we did our very best right away, even before the awards were announced. That in itself was a win.”
Co-wind captain Brianna Rodriguez, also 16 of Mays Landing, agreed. “There was a lot of hard work, and it is very rewarding to have all that work lead to a championship.”
Senior color guard captain Lucy Bowman, 17, of Mays Landing had to sit out the championship after suffering a concussion during the regional competition, but was able to attend the event.
“We did very good under the windy, drizzly and gloomy conditions,” she said.
“It was a nerve-wracking season and an insane feeling to win,” said senior clarinet player Shauna Reichman-Lemieux, 17. “This is my family. I am so glad that I participated in the band for four years.”