WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange High School Marching Mountaineers won the Group 5A State Championship on Oct. 22 at Rutgers University, continuing a successful and stellar competition season for the band and its “Defying Gravity” routine.
With a score of 93.613, the Mountaineers not only won the state championship but also took caption awards for best music, best visual and best overall effect. Band members were ecstatic about their achievements, which many expressed as the product of hard work from each section. The last time the marching band took home the state championship was 2009.
“I’m really proud of the entire band,” drum major Divya Anand said in a press release. “Some in the band have been performing for three years, while others joined this year knowing very little about the activity, and to see our newest members rise from having no experience to becoming state champions is amazing.”
“Winning state championships is an incredible accomplishment for me and the rest of the seniors for our final year in the band,” drumline member Austin Bartola said in the press release. “It’s rewarding to see how everyone in the drumline has developed as musicians and as people since the beginning of the season.”
The Mountaineers have won every competition with this year’s routine, “Defying Gravity,” which features live vocals of Rihanna’s hit song “Diamonds” during the performance. The routine, choreography and vocals have proved to be unstoppable as the band has taken multiple award honors at each competition.
“Everyone has been expressing how proud they are of each other and the sense of family among us is incredible,” Bartola said.
The article was submitted by Austin Bartola, a senior participating on the West Orange High School Mountaineer Media Team. The photos were taken by Mary-Lauri Bartola.