Savannah is known for hosting the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world. Savannah’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was in 1813, only 80 years after the city was founded by Gen. James Oglethorpe. A small group of Hibernians organized and marched on the streets of Savannah to remember the death of their Patron Saint, St. Patrick of Ireland. Over the years the city prospered with Irish immigrants due to the potato famine and political persecution their country faced.
Although there is an application process, the Highty-Tighties were personally invited by the parade committee to participate in this year’s parade. This year marks the band’s 7th appearance in the parade, and its first since 2008. The Highty-Tighties have been recognized with a trophy every year they have participated.
“It is an honor for the Highty-Tighties to represent the corps of cadets, Virginia Tech, and the Commonwealth of Virginia at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah. These cadets are extremely motivated by the opportunity to perform in such a proud and storied parade. Every cadet has put in countless hours practicing and preparing and the culmination will be a superb representation of the corps and Virginia Tech,” states Cadet Maj. Jacob Mathews of Colorado Springs, Colo., a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and pursuing a minor in leadership studies. Mathews is a Civilian Track cadet who says he plans to join the Teach for America Corps upon graduation. He is currently serving as the Band Company Commander for the spring of 2011 and is a recipient of the William Scott Dewhirst ’50 Emerging Leader Scholarship.
The Highty-Tighties have been preparing five hours a week for the parade since the beginning of the spring semester. Practices consist of marching fundamentals, musical practice, and parade practice. In addition to the organized practices, cadets have spent numerous personal hours practicing and perfecting the music. Cadets in the band must balance a full academic load as well as ROTC and corps commitments while preparing for such events. The band will be performing a variety of military marches. These include “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Hands across the Sea” by John Philip Sousa along with “Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment March” by Thornton Barnes Boyer. The band will also show its Hokie pride with its rendition of “Tech Triumph.”
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets has produced military, public, and corporate leaders since the university was founded in 1872. It is one of just two military corps within a large public university. The corps holds its members to the highest standards of loyalty, honor, integrity, and self-discipline. In return, cadets achieve high academic success and a long-lasting camaraderie with fellow members. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.