On Thursday, April 7, 2016, the Columbia High School participated in the North Jersey School Music Association’s annual Concert Band Festival. The event is held each year at multiple locations in North Jersey over the course of three days, at which high school bands perform for and are adjudicated by esteemed college and professional faculty from around the country. Each band is given a rating of gold, silver, bronze, or participation based on their adjudicated score, and this year the CHS Honors Wind Ensemble earned a rating of “Gold.” Additionally, Emory McCool, principal oboist in the band, was given an Outstanding Musician award for his solo work in the band’s cornerstone adjudication piece “El Camino Real” by Alfred Reed. Of the twenty-three bands participating in this year’s festival, the honors wind ensemble earned one of the top four overall scores, which qualified them to perform in the statewide High School Band Gala Concert on May 1st at Rutgers University. This is one of the most prestigious events for high school wind bands in the state of New Jersey, as it features the top four groups from each region in a spectacular concert event designed to showcase the outstanding talent of the bands and students musicians in New Jersey. This is the second time the wind ensemble has been invited to attend the gala, with the last time in 2009. The performance was one for the ages, with the wind ensemble giving one of the finest performances of the event. Thanks to all of the students, parents, teachers, administrators who have contributed to the wind ensemble’s success, as well as to the continued success of the entire CHS and SOMSD band program.