Email signup

Oakton HS marching band rocks the vote as finalist in Metallica competition

Oakton High School Marching Cougars perform their Metallica showcase “Parade to Black” at a varsity football game against Westfield (courtesy of David Custer)

Oakton High School’s marching band could win $15,000 from playing “Enter Sandman” and other Metallica tunes.

The Marching Cougars, as the band is called, was selected as a national finalist in the inaugural “For Whom the Band Tolls” competition, which invited high school and college marching bands to submit videos showcasing their performances of Metallica’s work.

Oakton is the high school finalist from Virginia and one of only two selected from the East Coast, according to the Oakton High School Band Boosters.

The finalists were determined by a judging panel made up of music educators, but the winners — two collegiate bands and small, medium and large high school bands — will be chosen by singer and guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich and the other members of the heavy metal band.

“It is surreal to me that one of my all-time favorite bands is going to watch my band,” said Oakton Band Director Dr. Jamie vanValkenburg, who designed the Cougars’ showcase to engage “both performers and the audience through thrilling visuals and dynamic sound.”

The Cougars submitted a performance from an October varsity football game where Oakton played Westfield High School. Titled “Parade to Black,” the show features “The Unforgiven,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” the regular Metallica cover song “Turn the Page,” “The Memory Remains,” and “Enter Sandman” as the finale.

In addition to the categories judged by Metallica, there are two fan favorite categories — one for colleges and one for high schools — that will be decided by public vote. All of the submissions can be viewed online, where community members can cast their vote.

Votes can also be submitted by text to 1-833-609-0330. To back the Marching Cougars, voters would need to send text “VOTE #HSOAKTON.” The voting window will close on Dec. 31.

All of the winners will be announced the week of Jan. 1. Prizes range from $10,000 for the fan favorite choices to $75,000 for the Division I collegiate category.

Members of the Marching Cougars were thrilled by their selection as finalists. Trumpet player Jayden said the honor “means a lot” to him and everyone else in the band and color guard, while bass clarinet player Jennifer said it was rewarding to contribute “to something cool and potentially beneficial to our music community and school.”

“The video turned out amazing and really showcased all the work that our band put in this season,” Deniz, a drum major, said. “Watching it back makes me so proud of us, as it really demonstrates our great improvement over the past few months.”

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…

Detectives have charged a 17-year-old boy with DUI-related manslaughter and maiming in a Nov. 20 crash that killed one teen and seriously injured four others in Fairfax County’s Idylwood area….

A mental health facility has opened its doors in Reston, promising to help both clients and new and training therapists. Columbia Associates — which operates a network of outpatient mental…

Some teenage volunteers in Vienna have teamed up with a national nonprofit to show their support for American military service members. The town’s Club Phoenix Teen Council launched a donation…

Dreaming of small-town charm with big-city convenience? Look no further than 7156 Main St in Clifton, Virginia! Nestled just 30 miles from the heart of Washington D.C., this picturesque property offers the best of both worlds.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to find tranquility in this quaint, historic town. With its tree-lined streets and friendly community atmosphere, Clifton is the perfect place to call home. Yet, with its close proximity to the nation’s capital, you’ll never be far from the excitement and opportunities of urban living.

Imagine weekends exploring local shops, dining at charming cafes, and enjoying outdoor adventures in nearby parks. Then, commute to D.C. for work or play, soaking in all the culture, entertainment, and career opportunities the city has to offer.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.

Minimum Requirements

  • Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches

  • Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.

  • Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.

  • Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

The Van Metre 5K Run

Participate in the 32nd Annual Van Metre 5K Run, a race that goes further than 3.1 miles, and every stride you take supports Children’s National Hospital. The Van Metre 5K Run donates 100% of proceeds to Children’s National Hospital and

Active Bystander: Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Training

The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Active Bystander Certification course, also known as Active Bystander, is the premier training program to prepare civilians for how to respond during an intentional violent event and to address life-threatening emergencies.

Similar to FEMA’s


Subscribe to our mailing list