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Eastside marching band set to perform at National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
The Pride of Eastside
The Pride of Eastside marching band performs during a recent show. (Special | Morgan Wynn)

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Pride of Eastside (TPOE) band is about to take its show on the road. 

Eastside High School’s marching band is set to perform at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. next month. The band, comprised of 81 students, was one of only 13 bands selected to perform at the national event.

“It’s extremely exciting to be selected to perform on a national stage,” said Elijah Clark, Director of Bands at Eastside High School. “It is a testament to both our previous director, Mr. Alan Fowler, and all of our band alumni, that we were selected. From what I can tell, we are the only band from Georgia attending the parade this year, and from among those bands, we were also selected to have a standstill performance at the final viewing area in the parade—between the White House and the Washington Monument.”

During the standstill performance, the band will perform “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys.

“We selected it because it’s a great tune that is known by both younger and older people,” said Clark.

The band members are looking forward to the trip and national performance, and according to Clark, they have Fowler to thank for the opportunity.

“He applied for TPOE to perform in the parade,” said Clark. “Our band was then required to submit an application, resume of past parade performances, as well as a video of one of our 2021 halftime shows.”

Clark said the invite will only bolster TPOE’s already strong reputation and provide priceless exposure that should continue to entice young musicians to want to join. 

“This parade will continue to build our program’s resume so that future editions of The Pride of Eastside will get the chance to perform in bigger parades on larger platforms,” Clark added.

Eastside principal Jeff Cher said he was excited to see TPOE get what he believed to be much deserved recognition. 

“I’m extremely proud of The Pride of Eastside for earning this incredible opportunity to perform at the national level,” Cher said. “I know they will represent our school, our district and the entire Newton County community well in this event.”

The Pride of Eastside will depart Covington on April 12 and have the opportunity to spend the following two days touring Washington, D.C. with the parade scheduled for April 15.

“We have scheduled time to visit the Spy Museum, Union Station, the Smithsonian, and Arlington Cemetery before the actual parade,” said Clark. “This will be a fantastic learning experience for the students, some of whom have never traveled outside of Georgia.”