JANESVILLE

Members of the Janesville Green Beret Marching Band are champions for the first time in the band’s 53-year history.

The band won first in its division at the Mid-America Competing Band Directors Association championships this weekend. The competition was held at UW-Whitewater’s Perkins Stadium.

The band also won six of seven caption awards given for specific accomplishments. Green Berets took home caption awards for music execution, visual execution, music general effect, visual general effect, percussion and color guard.

Meredith Jacobson, the band’s color guard instructor, said this year’s band was full of talented performers who “were like sponges,” soaking up everything they were taught.

The band has 36 members ages 10 to 21. It competed against bands from Racine; Sun Prairie; Columbus, Ohio; and Edmonton, Canada, Jacobson said.

Jacobson has been the color guard instructor for 17 years. Her husband, Andy Jacobson, has been the horn and visual instructor for just as long. Their two children are in the band.

The Jacobsons are godparents to John and Carrie Schroeder’s children. John is the marching and drums instructor, and Carrie is a marching instructor.

The instructors feel like they are family, Jacobson said. It was special to win this weekend after years of hard work and challenges.

In the past, the band has had years with few members. Jacobson was once told by a judge the band would never achieve if membership was so low.

The band went undefeated in competition this year, which was also a first, Jacobson said.

“To take awards home is so good because we worked hard for a long time,” Jacobson said.

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