Valley marching band reaches finals of Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Band Tolls!’ competition

Dec 12, 2023, 12:00 PM

PHOENIX — If you don’t think marching bands can rock out with the best of them, think again.

Metallica, the biggest band in heavy metal history, is holding a contest to find the rockingest marching band in the land — and a Valley high school might be the “One.”

Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School marching band was selected as a finalist in Metallica’s “For Whom the Band Tolls!” competition on Monday and remains in the running for up to $25,000 in prizes.

What is Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Band Tolls!’ competition?

Metallica challenged college and high school marching bands across the country to submit videos showing performances of the group’s high-powered music.

More than 100 high schools and over 30 colleges entered the fray by the Nov. 16 deadline.

Desert Mountain was the only finalist from among four Arizona bands that answered the call.

Arizona State University, Canyon del Oro High School in suburban Tucson and Casteel High School in Queen Creek didn’t make the cut when a panel of professional judges winnowed the field to five finalists in each of the two collegiate and three high school categories.

How did Desert Mountain march closer to prize in Metallica contest?

Desert Mountain, competing in the medium high school category (75-124 band members), wowed the judges with a medley titled “Metallic Dreams” that puts a symphonic spin on the songs “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Enter Sandman,” “Wherever I May Roam,” “One” and “Master of Puppets.”

The members of Metallica — James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo — will judge the finals and announce the winners during the week of Jan. 1.

The prize in each high school category is $15,000. The Division 1 college winner will get $75,000, and Metallica’s favorite Division 2 or 3 band wins $40,000.

The contest also includes two $10,000 fan favorite awards, one for high schools and one for colleges. Fan favorite votes can be submitted by text message to 833-609-0330. To support Desert Mountain, put “VOTE #HSDESERTMTN” in the message.

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Valley marching band reaches finals of Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Band Tolls!’ competition