On Saturday, Nov. 18 the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagle Regiment received first place at the Florida Marching Band Championship, or FMBC, for the first time in school history. For the last few years, they have been only a fraction of a point away from receiving first place, according to Principal Ty Thompson.
While the band has won state competitions before, this was the first time they have won in the classification of 5A, the highest level.
When the band arrived home the following night at around 9 p.m., they were greeted by approximately 200 members of the MSD community applauding them for their record-breaking accomplishment.
On their first day back to school on Monday, Nov. 20, the celebration continued with a school-wide ceremony of appreciation in the courtyard at the end of second lunch at 1 p.m.. The entire band was congratulated as they all walked through the “eagle tunnel” to the sound of “We are the Champions,” following speeches by Thompson and band director Alex Kaminsky.
In his speech, Thompson attributed the band’s success not only to Kaminsky, but also to the previous band director John Rusnak, who passed away in 2014.
“We are extremely excited… All their hard work has come to fruition this weekend, and they did great on the field, and the results paid off,” Thompson said.
According to Thompson, the ceremony was intended to honor the accomplishments of the arts programs in a similar way to how they have done so with sports programs in the past, such as last year’s national baseball victory.
“Running through the eagle made me proud to be part of the Eagle Regiment and excited for the future of the band as well as feeling honored and loved by our school,” senior Nicole Barretto said. “Being a senior and hearing the speech Brianna Sanchez made was very emotional and made the team feeling even stronger.”
Following the band’s ceremonial march through the large blow-up eagle, head drum major Brianna Sanchez was given the opportunity to express her continued adoration for the program and pride in her four years with the band.
“This whole experience was really humbling, and I’m just incredibly grateful for everyone in the band program and all the massive support we have been getting for many years,” Sanchez said.
After the conclusion of marching season, the band will begin to prepare for concert season, the first of which will take place on Dec. 14.