On Nov. 11 the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Marching Band took second place at the USBands National Competition held at MetLife stadium.
The band received an overall score of 95.8, gaining them second place in Group 6A. The SPFHS Marching Band also won the caption award for Best Effect.
First place was achieved by New Providence High School, who the SPFHS drum majors noted are tough competition.
The USBands win is not the first achievement for the Marching Band, who also won the Yamaha Cup on Oct. 13. The Raiders' overall score was a 83.125 and they also won the caption awards for Best Music, Best Color Guard and Best Overall Effect.
Drum majors, Danielle Karacsony, Ben Oster and Panyotis Dimopoulos were proud of the band's performance at the competition since they were unable to get in a lot of practice due to the storm.
The three drum majors serve as student leaders for the entire band. They do things such as keep time and run basic warm ups, to telling the band members to pay attention.
All three majors agreed that the freshmen enjoy them as leaders and some of the freshmen band members are even looking forward to being drum majors themselves.
"We did our jobs well if so many people are looking up to us," Karacsony said.
Oster added, "we must be doing something right."
Karacsony said the band's trip was a lot of fun and they were happy to be at MetLife for a second time, usually they only compete at the stadium once for the Yamaha Cup.
Dimopoulos added that he was proud of what the band had accomplished.
"It was a special year," Dimopoulos said. "Personally it was the best show I have been a part of."
As seniors, both Oster and Karacsony enjoyed this season as their last with the band.
Karacsony noted that she is sad about leaving, but it is very happy with the way things turned out.
As for the bus ride home from the competition, Dimopoulos said the morale is always high when they head home after performing well.
Karacsony said that on her bus ride back from the October competition, she made it a point to hug each and every member of the 170 person band.
She added how she wanted to savor every moment of her last bus ride with the band. Also, she took plenty of pictures and plans on making a slideshow for everyone.
Dimopoulos, a current junior and first year drum major, said next year he will carry on as a drum major at SPFHS.
"If they'll have me," he added.
Which Karacsony and Oster laughingly replied, "of course they will!"
Dimopoulos has played saxophone for seven years and plans to attend college for jazz.
Oster pointed out that Dimopoulos practices saxophone for three hours a day.
"I don't know how he finds the time," Oster said.
Although Karacsony and Oster have not decided where they will be attending college next year, both said they would like to participate in band in some way.
Karacsony said if the school she attends has a marching band, she would definitely participate.
As for Oster, he stated how he enjoys the more competitive atmosphere and would like to be a part of the drum corps in the summer so he could focus on his studies during the year.
The SPFHS Raiders Marching Band practiced three times a week leading up to the competition and also for football season. In the final days prior to the competition the band was even practicing in the dark as they tried to make up for lost time due to Hurricane Sandy.
However, achieving the second place win despite their setbacks was something to be proud of for the three drum majors, especially the seniors.
Karacsony and Oster agreed, "what a way to go out."
During the competition, the Marching Band also received the Esprit de Corps Award given in competition by the US Marine Corps.
Instead of a trophy, the Raiders Marching Band received a mace, which the band did not have before.
"It's a dream come true to hold one," Oster said. "It's an honor."