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Destrehan High School band wins $10,000 award

Kyle Barnett -   Nov 07, 2013

The Destrehan High School marching band performs their field routine at a recent football game.
The Destrehan High School marching band performs their field routine at a recent football game.

The Destrehan High School marching band has been named the winner of the “The Battle of the High School Marching Bands” competition.

DHS’s marching band will receive $10,000 from Carnival Cruise Lines and will perform at the naming ceremony for the newly refurbished Carnival Sunshine.

The competition, which was sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines and WDSU, included 22 New Orleans area high school marching bands.

All bands produced and sent in a video of their marching band playing the school’s fight song.

Stacy Toal, Destrehan High School’s band director, said the marching band tried to recreate the feeling of playing in front of a Friday night football crowd.

“We were in the stadium actually standing on the Wildcat in uniform and we took everything that we do at a football game and inserted a Wildcat cheer in the middle and had one of the DHS cheerleaders with us, who is also in band,” she said. “Basically we just tried to perform with the same enthusiasm that we perform for the football players every Friday night.”

In producing DHS’s video, the band received some help from the Satellite Center production class.

“Albert Dupont from the Satellite Center came out and taped it. He made everything easy for us,” she said. “They were awesome.”

Five finalists, including Destrehan,  were chosen and the winner was voted on from Oct. 22 to Nov. 1 at WDSU’s website.

Toal said it means a lot that so many in the DHS community would get behind the marching band and cast a vote for them.“To get the student body involved and the faculty, and then we have this incredible group of parents and kids that just got the word out to their co-workers and their friends who just voted and voted and got behind the whole idea of getting the band wherever we had to go to win,” she said.

 The competition was held after the Carnival Sunshine underwent an extensive $15 million renovation to become the largest cruise ship based out of New Orleans area.

Jennifer DeLaCruz, director of public relations at Carnival Cruise Lines, said the competition was unique to New Orleans.

“Carnival is very involved in philanthropic efforts in our home port communities, but we’ve never done a marching band competition before. It is certainly something we’d look at doing again,” DeLaCruz said. “We wanted to do something community based with this near and dear to New Orleans, which is the heritage of music.”

DHS will perform at the Nov. 17 naming ceremony and will be invited aboard the ship for dinner along with numerous other visitors.

“The Nov. 17 event is a pier side event. We are going to have a few thousand people aboard the ship,” DeLaCruz said.Toal said the performance will be the perfect capper to a good season by the DHS marching band that includes a 4A championship.

“As far as the acknowledgement for their hard work, this just tops it off,” she said.

What the $10,000 award will go towards is still under discussion, but Toal said she has an early favorite.

“I know one of the things we are going to look at is that we have our indoor percussion  group that has been extremely successful for the past few years and we want to go the world championships this year in Dayton, Ohio,” she said. “ So that money would really help defray the costs for those kids in that group. That’s definitely something we are going to put some consideration into. That way it directly impacts the kids.”

See the DHS marching band entry video below.

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