AMSTERDAM - Three months of hard work and practice paid off for Amsterdam High School musicians Monday when the marching band and jazz band each won two top prizes, and the Amsterdam Majorettes won also won a top prize at the 2013 National Presidential Inauguration Festival Parade in Washington.
The groups returned to Amsterdam with the 2013 National Presidential Inauguration awards of: Parade Grand Champion; Parade Division 3, First Place, Gold rating; Jazz Band Grand Champion; Jazz Band Division 3, First Place, Gold rating; and Outstanding Band Front Parade.
After the parade, the students attended the inauguration with some 800,000 other people, which took a toll on the staff and students.
Members of the Amsterdam High School Marching Rams perform recently in Washington.
Photo by David Roux
"It was very emotionally draining and physically draining to be a part of that event," said Michael Perry, director of both bands. "It was very exciting for the kids to attend the historical event. They have a story to tell. They are happy to be home, but they brought home great memories."
Perry said he and the staff are very proud of what the marching band and jazz band were able to accomplish.
During their trip to the nation's capital, the students also took some time to go sightseeing, including a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.
Corey Dybas, who plays in both the marching and jazz bands, said it will be something he will remember for a long time, but he agreed with Perry that it was a draining experience.
"It was an awesome experience, but was really stressful at the same time," Dybas said. "We had to stay together with 800,000 other people [also there]. It was really crazy."
What also made the trip worthwhile was the recognition the bands received, he said.
"We were practicing for three weeks, three times a week. All the practice, all the moves, it really paid off," Dybas said. "It feels great to know that we were good enough to win first place with the gold rating and to be the best in the competition."