Some groups really know how to kick it up a notch when the stakes are high.

Case in point: The Northern Lehigh High School Marching Band is a silver finalist after the team finished in the Top 10 at the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships for a third consecutive year.

The band concluded their competitive season on Nov. 4 at the TOB Atlantic Coast Championship held at Hershey Park Stadium by capturing their third Top 10 finish since 2010. This was also the third consecutive year that the team finished with a Silver Level Score at the ACC's.

Exemplary achievement in performance at the Atlantic Coast Championships is rewarded with the special designations of Bronze Level (Scores of 85 to 89.9), Silver Level (90 to 94.9), and Gold level (95 and up) scores.

The Bulldogs outscored 50 other group 1 high school bands competing at all levels of the TOB Championships this year, which marked the school's ninth consecutive trip to the Atlantic Coast Championships as a finalist, and its 13th trip to the finals overall.

The band also won special awards this season for Best Color Guard, and Best Drum Major.

Band director David Carroll said the student leadership was again outstanding this year, led by Abby Messinger, drum major; Dana Fricker, president; Samantha Miller-Brown, vice president; Diane McKinney, secretary; Aidan Burke, treasurer; and Marc Beleno and Kyle Smith, librarians.

He said "2012 was another very successful season for our program."

"The philosophy at the foundation of our competitive marching program is to educate our students through the creation of great art," Carroll said. "The process of preparing for competition drives the musical development of our band students at Northern Lehigh."

The TOB represents a huge challenge to the team, Carroll said.

"Our students are proud of Northern Lehigh, and are highly motivated to represent their school and their community on a very large stage," he said. "This competitive motivation drives a concentrated effort on their part to grow and develop throughout the season."

Carroll said the team's success is a byproduct of those who support it.

"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, Virginia, New York, and North Carolina. These nine states are divvied 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 or "Group." 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