by Jennifer Mandelblatt
Despite the hurricane and rehearsal setbacks, the Marching Band finished a weekend of competitions, placing on both the national and state level.
On Nov. 10, the band placed tenth out of 16 teams at the 2012 U.S. Scholastic Band Association National Marching Band Championships. The following day, the Marching Blue Devils ranked fourth out of 15 teams at New Jersey States.
The band competed in the Group 4A category for each competition and earned scores of 90.85 and 95.05, respectively.
The national competition was held at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD, and States was held at Piscataway High School in Piscataway Township, NJ.
Said senior Drum Major Michael Aronson: “This year’s band has certainly left a mark on the marching band program.
He added, “We competed in our first ever [national] competition and left a great impression on a countrywide level.”
At States, the band took home The Cadets Award of Excellence, which recognizes “the performances of the bands reflecting The Cadets tradition of overall effect, creativity and pursuit of excellence,” according toyea.org.
Said Director of Bands Mr. Chris Vitale, “We tried to design a show that would be easy to understand, entertaining, and meaningful to anyone that saw the band perform.”
The band’s routine featured arrangements of John Philip Sousa’s “The Thunderer,” “America the Beautiful,” The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black” and Antonin Dvořák’s “Largo,” according to senior Drumline Section Leader Jon Clancy.
Said junior percussionist Mac Reddy: “This year, we put so much work into the season and paid the highest attention to detail. It felt so worth it. I would have gladly put in double the time we did to expect the same results.”
According to senior Colorguard Captain Barrie Knapp, the Color Guard choreography and members help convey the mood of each piece of music played by the band.
Although scored separately from the band at competitions, the Color Guard’s performance contributes to the overall effect score of the entire piece, said Knapp.
“We left a show on the field that elated not only our audiences and judges, but the band as well,” said Aronson.
The band also received the Best Percussion award, for its performance under the leadership of senior Section Leaders Clancy, Maria Hershey and Liam Keller.
Said Hershey: “We weren’t expecting [the award] at all. It was a great way to end the season.”
Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Marching Band was unable to practice for the two weeks prior to the competition. Upon arriving in Maryland, however, the WHS Band was allowed to rehearse at Atholton High School.
According to “Letter: New Jersey school band grateful to Atholton High” on baltimoresun.com, the actions of the Atholton band community “not only provided [the WHS band members] with confidence going into their performances, but also inspired them by making them feel important and welcome far from home.”
Said Aronson: “Remembering the long and tough journey we had all traveled, from band camp to rehearsals to football games to competitions, I could not have been more happy at the end of the season.”