The Corps of cadets will be represented at the Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 10 in Washington, D.C., by the Regimental Band, the Highty-Tighties.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week event that celebrates springtime in Washington, D.C., as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan.

The Highty-Tighties have marched in many Cherry Blossom Festival Parades during their 117 years, last participating in the spring of 2008. Band director Maj. George McNeill had to apply to participate in the Cherry Blossom Parade and the Highty-Tighties were then one of the bands selected to march.

"Performances like this parade are what these cadets work for. Countless hours of playing and marching culminate in one superb representation of the corps of cadets and Virginia Tech. It is an honor to represent the corps of cadets, Virginia Tech, and the Commonwealth of Virginia in such a festive tradition," states Cadet Allie Greif of Severna Park, Md., a senior majoring in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and pursuing a minor in leadership studies. Greif is in Army ROTC with a four-year scholarship and will branch Military Police upon commissioning. She is currently serving as Band Company Commander for the spring of 2010.

The Highty-Tighties have practiced between four and six hours a week for the past four weeks preparing for the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Their practices include indoor musical rehearsals as well as outdoor marching practices within the town of Blacksburg. Cadets in the band must balance a full academic load as well as ROTC and corps commitments while preparing for such events. The parade runs along Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW, and will be featured in a live simulcast on ABC 7/ WJLA-TV and News Channel 8. Song selections for the parade route are: "The Stars and Stripes Forever," "Under The Double Eagle," "Semper Fidelis," "Joyce’s 71st New York Regiment March," and "Tech Triumph," the university's fight song.

This article was written by Cadet Tracy Porter of West Point, Va., a senior majoring in geography in the College of Natural Resources and pursuing a minor in leadership studies. Porter is an Army ROTC cadet who will be commissioning as Ordinance Officer this May and is currently serving as the Operations Officer and Public Affairs Officer for the Highty-Tighties.

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