Starting its rounds of championships off on a high note, the Vernon Vikings Marching Band recently won first place in the Group IVA division at the nationally recognized 2017 Yamaha Cup on Saturday, October 14. The marching band students of Vernon Township High School took to the fields of the expansive Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, to compete against nine other high school marching bands in a skilled battle for the first place title. There, the Vikings performed their show, “Who is the Fairest?” and triumphantly seized the trophy win.

Vernon Township High School Band Director Max Taylor commissioned renowned composer Key Poulan to write the musical arrangements for “Who is the Fairest?” which explores the haunting and mysterious Evil Queen character from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The Vikings’ rendition of “Who is the Fairest?” is expertly planned and performed, from its meticulous instrumentation to its well-staged choreography. As the band’s color guards cloak the field in swaths of purple and metallic shades, and the instrumentalists play with impeccable precision, the Vernon Vikings Marching Band delivers a mesmerizing performance of color and sound.

To produce a show of such excellent quality, Vernon’s marching band students invest an enormous amount of time into their practice schedules, as does the Vikings Marching Band staff. Taylor noted, “The teaching staff works on the show concept for many months prior to the summer marching band rehearsals.” He continued, “The show is carefully storyboarded to make sure that the concept works and will be musically and visually stimulating.”

During the summer months, the Vernon Vikings Marching Band assembles for six hours of rehearsals each week, in addition to attending VTHS Summer Band Camp, which is jam-packed with musical drills, choreography, and other show preparations. Now that school is in-session, the Vikings Marching Band rehearses afterschool for approximately twelve hours each week, for the duration of the performance season. This year, musical composer Poulan also generously donated his time, traveling from California to New Jersey, to not only practice with the Vernon Township High School Marching Band, but to also watch them perform!

Director of Fine and Performing Arts Joseph Piccirillo stated, “Mr. Taylor and his assistant band directors exceed expectations each and every year. Their talent, passion, dedication, and tenacity are unmatched and that always rubs off on the students.” Handled with utmost precision and dexterity, the multi-faceted show gradually evolves from drawn-out plans to a full-fledged musical production. Vernon’s marching band students, staff members, and community members harmonize their combined talents to orchestrate a show of impressive magnitude and skill.

Taylor remarked, “The time and dedication of all involved in the rehearsal and performance of the field show—including students, parents, and the marching band teaching staff—significantly contributes to the overall success of the show.” Piccirillo also commented on the steadfast support of the Vikings Marching Band’s parents, stating, “Those parents spend nearly as much time as the teachers and students towards making the season a success. Marching Band really brings the entire community together!”

The Vernon Vikings Marching Band will next compete at the US Band’s New Jersey States Marching Band Championships in Rutgers University Stadium on Saturday, October 28, and will then round out the season at the US Band’s National Championships in the J. Birney Crum Stadium (Allentown, PA) on Sunday, November 5. For more time and location details, please visit the US Bands website:

Be sure to watch the Vikings Marching Band perform the Halftime Show of the next VTHS Varsity Football Game on Friday, October 27 at 7:00pm!