Grants Pass High School Marching Band reflects on championship season

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– The Grants Pass Marching Band ended their season with a win at the NWAPA Championships in Eugene this past weekend.

The band has been making the two-hour trip north every year since the competition started in the late 70’s.

Band Director Lewis Norfleet said, “the very first year the competition happened, I think Grants Pass got second, and then the next year, they got first in 1980. It’s been really a point of pride for us to carry on the tradition of the band program that’s been here for decades.”

This year, the Cavemen Marching Band claimed another first place finish with a score of 92.3 on their finals run.

They were the only school to score above 90.

“That was their best run they’ve ever had,” Color Guard Director Lucy Ireland-Lopez said,  “I told them since July, if you guys go hard you’ll make me cry for sure, and that was their goal.”

This year’s show featured some unique elements in the musical and visual aspects of the performance.

Assistant Director Noreen Norfleet said, “whether it’s an electric cello, or a voice, these gorgeous beautiful flags, our costume that are custom, the color guard gets to wear.”

The finals run was the last show for this year’s senior class and the culmination of four years of work.

For drum major Eve Dugan, the community that marching band has provided for her means more than bringing home a trophy.

“To be performing with all my friends, it’s just so awesome, and I get to stand up and conduct and see all of their faces,” she said, “It’s pretty incredible.”

Director Norfleet said he teared up at the end of their last performance because of his senior’s years of dedication and the work ethic of the newcomers.

“We’re not doing this for the awards, we’re doing this for the students to help them understand how to work toward a goal together, to work as a team, to pursue excellence,” he said, “Those are the things that we’re really about.”

NBC5 News reporter Derek Strom is from Renton, Washington. He recently graduated from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University with a degree in Broadcast News and a minor in Sports Management. He played in the drumline with the WSU marching band. These days, he plays the guitar and piano. Derek is a devoted fan of the Mariners, Seahawks, and Kraken.
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