OLD BRIDGE — The Old Bridge High School (OBHS) Marching Band, the only one selected from New Jersey, is gearing up to represent the state and the USS New Jersey during the Pearl Harbor Anniversary in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The members have been rehearsing a 20-minute performance, which will be before the USS Missouri and the anniversary parade through the center of Honolulu on Dec. 7.
“This is a huge honor to be selected to perform in Honolulu,” said Melissa Thatcher, band director. “Only two bands are selected from each state to represent the battleship states.”
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade is the official parade marking the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. It takes place annually on Pearl Harbor Day — Dec. 7 — to honor and pay respect to the Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans, active duty military and their families, according to the parade website.
Over the years, the Marching Knights have been invited and performed at the National Fourth of July Parade in Washington D.C. and the D-Day Anniversary in Normandy, France, in 2015.
Aside from the honor of performing in Hawaii, the band recently took top honors at the NJ State Championships.
“This state championship was a huge win for us since we have a very young band this year with mostly eighth and ninth graders,” said Thatcher, adding the band lost 25 seniors to graduation last year. “I am excited for the future if these kids are this great now.”
OBHS was the host to US Bands New Jersey State Championships at Lombardi Field on Oct. 28. There were 23 competing bands and Old Bridge won the Group 3 Open State Championship title.
“We are competing at the highest level in US Bands (Open Class), which is the most competitive and most difficult class to compete in,” Thatcher said. “I am extremely proud of these students.”
The Marching Band completed its season on Nov. 10 at MetLife Stadium at National Championships, where the band came in second place.