Five West Virginia schools participate in Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ Marching Band Competition

By Matthew Young, RealWV

Mountain State metalheads have new reason to throw up those horns and bang their heads this fall, as legendary rockers Metallica look to celebrate the unique artistic talents of the country’s best marching bands. 

“Earlier this year, we invited all marching bands to participate in the first ever Metallica marching band competition, and you answered in a major – and majorette – way,” Metallica frontman James Hetfield said in a Nov. 17 video message. “The response has been incredible with over 400 participating bands from high schools, colleges, and universities of all sizes, from nearly every state in the country.”

The West Virginia University Marching Band performs Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” and “Lux Aeterna.”

Five of the participating bands, including those from Jefferson, Point Pleasant Jr./Sr., and University High Schools, as well Marshall and West Virginia Universities, come from the Mountain State. In a Nov. 24 article, The Journal’s Ainsley Hall spoke with Jefferson High School Band Director John Lynch about his student’s participation in the competition. 

The Jefferson High School Marching Band performs Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

“Ever since I was in high school, I’ve been a Metallica fan,” Lynch told The Journal. “I’ve always wanted to perform ‘Master of Puppets’ with the band, and this year, I finally made that dream come true.”

Click here to read Ainsley Hall’s full article, or visit 

The Point Pleasant High School Marching Band performs an interpretation of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

Choosing from a catalog of songs, including “One,” “Enter Sandman,” “Seek and Destroy,” and “The Unforgiven,” participating bands were challenged to “craft the most exciting, unique, and impressive performances of Metallica’s music.” Competition is based upon the number of band members, and divided into five categories. 

Morgantown’s University High School Marching Band performs Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” and “Enter Sandman.”

The three high school divisions are made up of bands consisting of less than 75 members, bands consisting of between 75 and 125 members, and bands consisting of more than 125 members. The first place school in each division will win $15,000 to use toward the purchase of new equipment for their music program. The top two collegiate bands in their respective brackets will compete for $75,000 and $40,000 respectively. 

The Marshall University Marching Band performs Metallica’s “Sad But True,” “Lux Aeterna,” “Enter Sandman,” and “Master of Puppets.”

Voting is open to the public, and can be done by visiting Performance videos from all participating bands are available to view online, as well. Winners will be announced during the week of Jan. 1, 2024. Joining Metallica in sponsoring the competition are Tama, Sweetwater, KHS America, Zildjian, D’Addario Woodwinds, Evans Drumheads, Promark, Gator, Conn Slemer, and Hal Leonard.

“We would like to thank the schools, the band directors, the music teachers, the staff, and most of all, every single marching band member for taking Metallica’s music, and reinterpreting it and making it your own,” Hetfield added in his video message. “We can’t wait to announce the winners in each category.” 


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