WEST ORANGE NJ -
To most people, any mention of a band camp is just a reference to the movie American Pie, but to the West Orange Marching Mountaineers, Band Camp is a place to work hard and learn a whole year’s show.
Every year, for 6 days in August, the West Orange Marching Band travels to the mountains of Pennsylvania to learn and memorize their show for the year. The band makes their home for the week at Camp Weequahic in Lakewood, PA. Band directors Lew Kelly and Erin McClure, accompanied by a handful of experienced and talented techs lead the band in memorizing music and drill in order to put together a great show year in and year out.
A typical day at band camp starts with breakfast at 7:30 A.M, and a morning practice from around 8:30 to noon. This block includes marching basics, where techs Julian Johnson and Chris Cubias teach students new techniques to march and how to improve their current overall image as a band.
After the morning block comes lunch, followed by an afternoon block from 1:30-5:00pm. This includes sectionals, where the band splits up between the color guard, taught by PJ Tankard, the drum line, headed by Michael Denberg, and the band, taught by Lew Kelly and Erin McClure. Mark Richardson instructs the pit ensemble, which includes percussion instruments. Sectionals allow the band and guard to learn their respective parts without the confusion of a larger ensemble.
The afternoon block ends at 5 o’clock and is followed by dinner. After the meal, there is an evening block, which lasts until 9:30 pm. This includes more drill and memorization, and ends with sectionals once again.
The schedule repeats itself for the majority of the 6 days, with little incentives, such as movie night, and on the last day, Senior Skit, which is put on by the senior class to mock and poke fun at band camp and the band season. These help students unwind and keep from stressing out so much. On the last day of camp, the band goes home and performs their show at WOHS.
This year the band learned their 2013 show, titled “Creatures Of the Night,” which features songs from the movie Beetlejuice, as well as Radiohead’s “Creep,” and Dance Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns. The band performs at all home football games, as well as at several competitions. They will appear at WOHS at the first football game “under the lights” at Suriano Stadium on Friday, September 20, and will travel to Morris Knolls High School for a competition on September 28.
This year the Marching Band will host their first-ever Invitational at West Orange High School on Saturday, October 12. For more information, visit their website at http://www.wohsmusic.org/.