Metallica announces marching band competition winners, but Valley high school falls short

Jan 9, 2024, 4:15 AM

PHOENIX – A Valley marching band didn’t win ‘em all, but “The Memory Remains” of reaching the finals of Metallica’s “For Whom the Band Tolls!” competition.

Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School was one of five finalists in the national contest’s medium high school category (75-124 band members). It turned out to be the only category with a tie, but the local band didn’t make the cut.

Metallica challenged college and high school marching bands across the country to submit videos by Nov. 16, 2023, showing performances of the group’s high-powered music.

In a video announcing the winners released Sunday, bassist Robert Trujillo said “the response blew us away, with over 450 schools answering the call.”

Desert Mountain was the only finalist from among four Arizona bands that entered. The Scottsdale band wowed the judges with a medley titled “Metallic Dreams” that put a symphonic spin on the songs “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “Enter Sandman,” “Wherever I May Roam,” “One” and “Master of Puppets.”

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 category last month.

Who won Metallica’s marching band competition?

The band members — James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo — selected the following winners:

  • College Division 1: Auburn University.
  • College Divisions 2/3: Eastern New Mexico University.
  • Large high school: Dobyns-Bennett High School (Kingsport, Tennessee).
  • Medium high school (tie): Boerne High School (Boerne, Texas) and Malverne High School (Malverne, New York)
  • Small high school: Oakton High School, (Vienna, Virginia)

The high school category winners (including both medium winners) each get $15,000 in prizes. The colleges prizes are worth $75,000 for Division 1 and $40,000 for the Division 2/3 category.

Metallica and the contest sponsors also handed out $10,000 in prizes for the college and high school fan favorites, Auburn University and Dobyns-Bennett High School.

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Metallica announces marching band competition winners, but Valley high school falls short