RICHWOOD, W.Va. — A Nicholas County marching band is getting ready to perform at the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C. later this month.
The Richwood High School Band, known as the Lumberjack Express, was recently invited to play their selection of holiday tunes at the ceremony set for Nov. 28.
“We’ll be doing seasonal selections and maybe a patriotic tune,” longtime band director Greg James told MetroNews.
James said it’s a huge honor given all they’ve been through with the destruction from the 2016 flood. Since then, students have remained in temporary pods in Craigsville.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and House Speaker Mike Johnson helped confirm the performance.
James said this won’t be their first time performing at the national tree lighting ceremony. The band performed there in 1976 when James served as the assistant band director.
“The first time I was there I was the assistant and now I’m the band director,” he said. “It’s very exciting and I’m looking extremely forward to it.”
The Lumber Jack Express is no stranger to a big spotlight, James added.
“We’ve been very fortunate to do many things over the years — Indy 500, bowl games, different professional games in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, but this is a different venue and a big honor,” he said.
This year’s Capitol Christmas tree was cut from the Monongahela National Forest in nearby Randolph County. James said it will be special to have a lot of West Virginia representation at the ceremony.
“It’s a good representation of a small town and a small school even though we have about 100 students in band. I think it epitomizes West Virginia’s small communities that make up our great state,” James said.
The band is accepting donations for their D.C. trip. Those wishing to donate can send checks to the Richwood High School Band Boosters at 16414 Webster Rd., Craigsville, WV 26205.