WEST ORANGE, NJ - (Editor's Note: Tap into West Orange would like to thank senior Cory Wong for coverage of the WOHS Marching Band pre-season.)
The award-winning West Orange High School Mountaineer Marching Band has returned from its annual trip to Band Camp ready to debut their 2014 routine at the Sept.13 Fanfest opening football game v. Wayne Valley at 7:00 pm.
The marching band had previously trained at Camp Weequahic in Lakewood, PA. However, this summer marked several changes, relocating to a new band camp Greeley, PA. The new location, Lake Camp Owego, was not only a first-time camp for new freshman in the band, but also to returning members and instructional staff. The switch was made because Camp Owego was closer and better suited the rigorous schedule and needs of the band.
This year’s show is called “The Endless Cycle,” based on the cycle of the four seasons. The band features pieces from famous contemporary composers including Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and Grammy-winner Eric Whitacre. The pieces used in the marching band’s 2014 show are listed as followed:
The Promise of Living by Aaron Copland
Summertime by George Gershwin
October by Eric Whitacre
Into the Storm by Robert W. Smith
Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
Though only an 8-minute show, much of the band prepares for the marching season months before. The drumline and color guard begin rehearsal in mid-May, roughly two months after the end of their indoor winter seasons. Last winter, the West Orange Color Guard placed second in their division at the Winter Guard International World Championships held in Dayton, Ohio.
This year, the guard is scheduled to compete in Scholastic World Class, up from Scholastic Open Class. The wind section begins to learn music and marching techniques in July with the full band finally reconvening in the week leading up to band camp.
The Mountaineers attended Band camp from August 17 to August 22. Each day during the week, students would wake up at 7am for breakfast. A stretch and warm-up block would commence afterwards. It was later followed by learning music or drill, the movement of each band member to create a larger image, until noon. After lunch, another music and drill block would commence until dinner. During these blocks, members would first learn the drill in a set and then rep the set multiple times. After the drill to a movement had been learned, members would then place music to the drill to finally create a full marching show. From 6 o’clock on, another block on the field would take place, or the band would break off into sectionals to work on individual parts.
The team had free time as well, and members had access to the camp grounds, which included basketball, baseball, and tennis courts. Frisbee and basketball were common activities played during breaks. Many of the nights at band camp had group activities, including a bonfire and viewing party of Drum Corps International videos, which one could equate to being the “pro-league” of marching band. On the final night of camp, senior members of the band held a traditional senior-skit night. The skit often shows seniors mocking staff and restaging incidents that happened on and off the field.
Whether on the field or having fun, band members remained busy all day. However, even with sixteen hour days, the band still ran into problems while trying to complete its show. Rain late Thursday afternoon into Friday, the band’s departure day, prevented the members from completing the show’s finale. As a result, the band’s show preview to parents and friends after its return from band camp was not fully finished. Band members performed the first three movements with full visuals and played the last movement stand-still. The band completed its show on Monday evening with its first full run through.
In addition to their opening performance at Fanfest, The West Orange Marching Band will be hosting its second annual home Invitational on October 11 and is expected to participate in five other competitions, including the USSBA State Championships at Rutgers University and the Yamaha Cup at Metlife Stadium.
Band Director – Lewis C. Kelly; Associate Band Director – Erin McClure; Associate Band Directors – Andrea Rommel & Michael Denburg
Program Design – Lewis C. Kelly, Christopher J. Tarantino, Louis Hellinger, PJ Tankard, Michael Denburg, Julian Johnson, Scott Tomlin
Percussion Instruction – Christopher J. Tarantino, Mark Richardson, Michael Denburg, Jeff Rubin
Color Guard Instruction – Louis Hellinger, PJ Tankard, Denea Gresham, Jacklyn Miles
Marching Instruction – Chris Cubias, Andrew Denburg, Julian Johnson, Matt Pouy, Jesse Burbank
Drum Majors – Belle Zhang, Marcus Williams
Section leaders - Ann Krishnan, Conal Donagher, Chris Sanchez, Isabel Kaspriskie, Anishka Jean
Percussion captains - Perc captains, Trystn Murphy, Sam Adelsohn
Guard captains - Anika St. Felix, Brianna Todman, Jessica Kaiser, Angelica Pozzoli
Marching captain - Sarah Wardles