RANDOLPH, NJ--Senior members of the RHS Marching Rams band, in addition to seniors on the football team and cheerleading squad, took center field at Bauer Stadium last Saturday , when they were honored on Senior Night. The recognition all seniors received was  in conjunction with a football game that saw the Randolph Rams win against Union City, 48-25. 

Seniors from all three groups were read aloud messages, from an announcer, that their parents had written to them. Senior recognition is an annual event that allows seniors to celebrate their last year of playing, cheering, and performing at Bauer Stadium. However, Senior Night was different this year due to social distancing procedures because of the pandemic. In the past, seniors and their parents would cross the field at Bauer Stadium, but this year, they lined up across the field, socially distanced, and stepped forward when called upon to be congratulated. 

During their performance, the Marching Rams continued to shine, even while playing with masks on, and despite the limited amount of time that they had to practice, since most of the band camp had been canceled due to the ongoing pandemic and inclement weather. Even though the show's performance time became shorter this year, the Marching Rams seemed to have found ways to work around it so that the performance quality would be just as high. The band directors made this possible by continuing with their regularly scheduled Wednesday night practices and by using class time, during the school day, to work on the music for both virtual and hybrid students. Students also continued to have several band lessons during their other academic classes so that they would have a chance to get feedback about their tone quality and more from their lesson teacher.

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“I think all of us were disappointed that we couldn’t have the ‘normal’ season that we had in past years, especially us seniors,” stated Caroline Apt, the drum major for the Marching Rams. But as most band members agreed, any season was better than no season.”

“The Marching Rams, especially our seniors, have been working extremely hard to make this the normal band experience we know and love,” added Olivia Gasbarro, the assistant drum major of the Marching Rams. “The band is pushing through it all, even playing with masks on, and I’m so proud of how far we’ve gotten even with all these obstacles. This is something our members have been looking forward to all year, and I’m incredibly glad that we could make it happen. We’re like a family in this band.”

The Marching Rams performed only half of their show on Saturday due to the limited amount of time that they had to work on marching techniques and improving their musicality. Nevertheless, they are still planning to perform the remaining half of it at Bauer Stadium again and should be complete by November 6th. If there are playoff games, then the band will perform at those as well. 

In previous years, marching band competitions, such as MetLife’s Yamaha Cup, Under the Stars and a few local competitions were always something that the band prepared for and looked forward to, as they were the band’s biggest performances. This year, however, these events were canceled due to covid concerns, so working hard and performing the show at games has been the ultimate goal.

As this is the seniors’ last year as part of the Marching Rams, having the Marching Rams band continue is an opportunity that many other schools did not have the chance to have due to the ongoing pandemic. Although they won’t get the full marching band experience, just as in past years, this will be their “last time and best time,” which is a famous slogan in the Marching Rams family.

"The 2020 Marching Rams have been working hard in our limited practice time this year to put on a quality show that will entertain the crowd at home football games,” stated Nicholas Fantazzi, the director of the Marching Rams. “We are so proud of what our students have been able to accomplish this year."

“I am super proud of all that we have been able to accomplish this season, so far,” stated Michael Lichtenfeld, the associate director of the Marching Rams. It has been an unprecedented year for all and given the limited rehearsal time, we have achieved so much. I can't wait to see and hear all we are able to achieve this season! I'm super proud of the entire Band and Band Staff.”

The next football game, where the band will also perform, is scheduled for November 6. Both the game and the band’s performance, which occurs during halftime, will be live streamed at Bauer Stadium. 

Editor's Note: Sean Wattman is a student at RHS partipcipating in a journalism program with TAPinto Randolph