By Tamas Mondovics

With contributions by Mags Oldman

Teachers, parents, students, fans and an impressive showing of the local media, greeted the Newsome High School Wolfpack Marching Band upon its return home after competing in and becoming Grand Champions of the prestigious 2015 Bands of America (BOA) competition last month in Newark, Del.

As recent Grand Champions of the Central Florida Marching Arts Competition, the Newsome band is comprised of 131 musicians and color guard, who attend Joe E. Newsome High School in Lithia.

Led by Michael Miller, the Wolfpack was one of 26 high school marching bands from the mid-Atlantic region that entered the event, held at the University of Delaware.

Performing their already award winning show entitled, Flight. If Only I Could., which has reportedly brought the entire audience to their feet, the band walked away as champions.

Newsome senior Drum Major, Justin Shaw, earned distinguished Drum Major award in its class, while the band earned Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding Music Performance in its class, and Outstanding Visual Performance overall in the finals.

“I am extremely proud of the students for being able to handle the pressure of traveling out of state, perform in unfamiliar territory and cold climate, and endure a long day without sacrificing performance quality,” Miller said, adding that the accolades are second in importance to the sense of accomplishment felt by the entire organization.

“I hope our students will remember the lesson that work doesn’t always look like fun but is a necessary means to achieving goals,” Miller said.

Responding to earning his award, Shaw said that real reward comes from hard work and dedication to excellence.

“To me personally, winning is just icing on the cake,” he said. “I’m honored to be with the Newsome Band as drum major. I’m immensely proud of everything that we have accomplished and will continue to accomplish as a band program.”

According to school officials, three charter buses and two large rental trucks hauled the team, staff, chaperones and their equipment up north with one day to prepare their performance in quite a different climate than they are used to performing in.

“It was definitely cold,” said freshman mellophone player Lucas Oldman as he recalled the light snow that dusted the parts of the region during the weekend event. “You have to work a lot harder to stay in tune in that weather.”

The band is now gearing up for its a final performance of the season at the District 7 Music Performance Assessment (MPA) scheduled for Saturday, November 7, hosted by Riverview High School. The MPA will be followed by a format of winter ensembles, including concert band, jazz ensemble, indoor percussion and winter guard.

Along with a fall and winter concert, the band will also have its March to Macy’s kick off in December, which will mark the official start of the process of preparing for a once-in-a-lifetime event; marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City in November 2016.

For more information about the Newsome High School Marching band, visit

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