LAKE GEORGE - For years, the Warrensburg High School Marching Band has performed in local parades, and won the hearts of parents and townspeople.
But this past weekend, they marched in the grand Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association full-dress parade, and won over the expert judges who scrutinized and ranked the 136 marching units and 60 bands participating in the five-hour procession through Lake George Village.
The judges granted Warrensburg High the honors of "First Place - Best Musical Unit - High School Band" for the 120th annual parade and convention which attracts thousands of firefighters.
Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said this is the first time in decades that the high school band has garnered such an honor on behalf of the town.
"This is a huge deal," said Geraghty, who also serves as the president of the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Co. "The town officials and fire company members know this is a terrific honor - We're all really pleased with the work band director Denise Foster and the band members have invested in their performance."
He said this award will long be remembered.
"We're so proud of the way the Warrensburg band represented our community."
Superintendent of Schools Tim Lawson was at the awards ceremony of the Hudson Valley firefighters' organization and picked up the trophy on behalf of the high school. He said the award was a substantial achievement, considering the judges were from all over the Hudson Valley and were accustomed to grading professional marching bands and squads.
"This is a fantastic honor for Warrensburg High," he said. "It's a real tribute to the job Denise Foster has done with the instrumental music program at our school."
Lawson said that one important element in their success was likely the smart new uniforms that the Warrensburg Fire Co. purchased about a year ago, at considerable expense.
After marching down Canada Street before tens of thousands of spectators, the Warrensburg High School Band convened with the Lake George Community Band. Both bands performed for one another and then combined to play a piece together.
Foster said she enjoyed the day.
"It is always a delight to march alongside our fire company," she said. "It was also fun for us to perform together with the Lake George Community Band - We had a great time!"