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East Haven High School Co-op Marching Band lands top score at US Band Nationals

EAST HAVEN -- The East Haven Yellow Jackets came home with the biggest trophy at the competition!

The team recently traveled to Allentown, Pennsylvania to compete in the US Band Nationals.

“We’ve been there a few times in the past over the past couple of years since I’ve been here, and this year we were lucky enough to come in first place,” said band director, Matt Laudano.

The East Haven high school co-op marching band landed the top score, a feat they say is all thanks to hard work.

“We work starting in the summertime, we have two weeks of band camp that are seven or eight hours a day regardless of the weather,” said Laudano. “We’re out there just like any sports team, if it’s raining we’re out there if it’s cold we’re out there, these guys work hard and their hard work pays off.”

The band won first place for group IIA, and received four caption awards for best music, best visual, best overall effect, and best percussion.

“We got a 95 which is one of the highest scores I’ve ever gotten in the band ever, and I think the band in general, which I think is pretty amazing,” said Butler.

This was the band's highest score in its 20-year history. Just before this competition the team also took first place in US bands New England championship for the third straight year in a row, something that’s never been done before in the band's history.

Before competing, the team wrote the word relentless on their palms for their final performance, a reminder of the hard work that has made up their entire season.

“It’s a lot more than people think,” said Butler. “It’s not just walking and blowing air into an instrument, we put a lot of hard work in, and we spend over 300 hours a season working on this and putting it together, and it’s a lot more than just playing a football game.”

“We’re very lucky to have a positive atmosphere here, and we try to keep everyone boosted up,” said senior color guard co-captain Hannah Chase. “Positive energy is our main goal and we like to promote that every day.”

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