In 1996, the City Band was honored with an invitation to perform, on June 14 of that year, at the National Band Association Convention in New Orleans. The NBA is the largest band association in the world, with chapters in the United States and eleven other countries. Each year, one community band in the nation is invited to play at this prestigious event before an audience of school, college, service, and community band directors and band music lovers. The City Band was joined by the National Community Honors Band, made up of top amatuer musicians from across the U.S., invited university and high school concert bands, and the host for the 1996 convention — The United States Marine Band (“The President’s Own”), Washington, D.C. Highlights of the City Band’s program for this event included a performance of the original, unpublished version of John Barnes Chance’s Incantation and Dance, restoring 30 measures which make a more meaningful transition to the climax of the Dance, and Colonel John R. Bourgeois (Ret.), former Director of the United States Marine Band and Music Advisor to the White House, guest conducted Robert Jager’s Esprit de Corps.

On the educational front, the Association began an annual Young Artist Competition to encourage the development of stand-out high school musicians who plan to pursue a musical career. The winner of the annual competition is the featured guest soloist at the April concert and is given a financial award of $2,000 in support of future music endeavors.

To be eligible, the student must be a junior or senior enrolled in a band or orchestra program in a northern Virginia high school.