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Marching Wildcats claim 'AAA' title at UW-Whitewater Saturday

River Falls Marching Wildcats received a congratulatory parade late Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17th, upon their return from a championship performance at the state marching bank competition at UW-Whitewater.

For the fourth consecutive year, the River Falls Marching Wildcat band has won first place in the AAA Division Saturday at the State Marching Band Championships held at UW-Whitewater. The group also swept all caption awards, winning honors for best percussion, visual appearance, music and color guard.

The band, under the direction of Bryan Jaeckel and Joe Coughlin, returned to a hero's welcome Sunday afternoon with River Falls police and firefighters escorting them down Main Street and out to the high school. Senior band members rode proudly atop the department's ladder truck.

The award culminates four months of practice and performance of the season's show.

The caravan of four buses, two school-owned Sprinter vans, a rental truck and trailer loaded with gear, departed Friday afternoon. Students and chaparones spent two nights in the Palmyra Middle School between rehearsals and Saturday evening's competition at UW-Whitewater.

Because it had an early performance Saturday afternoon, the River Falls band also won the distinction of performing an exhibition ahead of the awards ceremony Saturday evening along with the UW-Whitewater marching band.

Over the past 25 years, the River Falls band has won its class in marching band competition 16 times, according to the Wisconsin School Music Assocation program.

Since the 2010 band came formed in July, the group has collected a number of competitive distinctions including first place in competition at Rosemount, Minn.; third place at Eastview with recognition for outstanding solist and best color guard; third place at Irondale with distinction for best color guard; first place at D.C.Everest with recognition for best visual and best musical performances, best purcussion and best color guard; first place at Merrill with honors for best percussion and best color guard; first place at Chippewa Falls with honors for best color guard; and first place at Menomonie with honors for best color guard and best percussion

Held in October each year at UW-Whitewater, the WSMA State Marching Band Championships is one of the few truly competitive activities WSMA offers. Bands enter in categories of Festival Class, Novice Class, Class A, Class AA, Class AAA, and Class AAAA.