Like a fine wine, the Northern Lehigh High School Marching Band continues to get better with age.

For the third year in a row, the band earned its highest placement ever in school history when it competed in the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championship at Hershey Park Stadium.

The band finished fourth out of 30 bands its size after it registered a score of 93.2. In the process, the band reset the school record for the third straight year, said David Carroll, marching band director.

Carroll said the band had superior student leadership, led by seniors Heather Heiney, Maggie Surdovel, Tiffany Hamm, Calli Zaleski, Brandon Horvath, Kelli Hunsicker, Mike Miller, Kim Bayer, and Chris LeFrancois.

"I have always been very pleased with the work ethic of our members, and this year's no exception," Carroll said. "My philosophy of success has always been attitude, organization, motivation, preparation, and concentration."

He said the band outscored a majority of all of the competitive bands throughout the season, which included larger bands in the other groups of competition.

This year's production was entitled "Exceptional" a celebration of the American Spirit. The design of the show included a recorded narrative of quotes about America. Northern Lehigh Athletic Director Bryan Geist was the voice of the narrator. Robert Vlasaty, high school principal, portrayed the voice of President Lincoln and President Kennedy. Several smaller quotes were read by various senior members of the band.

This marked the school's 12th trip to the ACC as a finalist, said Carroll, who added the band also won special awards this season for Best Music, Best Visual program, best Color Guard, and Best Drum Major.

Carroll was quick to recognize all those who support the program, a factor he said played a vital role in the band's success.

"I am very thankful for all of the support our program continues to receive from our parent organization, the school district, and the community," he said. "The Northern Lehigh Band Boosters does a tremendous job every year of creating an environment that nurtures the success of our students."

The Tournament of Bands encompasses member bands from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Virginia; the seven states are divided into regional subdivisions called Chapters.

Chapter 2 is the greater Lehigh Valley Region that extends west to Reading and Northern into the Poconos. Each team competes against bands of the same approximate size. The school's student population is not a factor in determining a bands Group size.

For more information on the Tournament of Bands, contact www. njatob.org