BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The 5th annual Ridge High School Marching Band Competition held Saturday, Oct. 25 at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge drew crowds in record numbers and attracted 17 area marching bands at an event that was as much music festival as band competition.

The 17 school bands performed a wide variety of programs while dressed in smart uniforms. A food concession stand added to the festival atmosphere.

The competition was at its best as the bands had been performing at events since August, and had honed their superbly executed performances. 

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Ridge, the host band, performed their 2014 performance show “Playing with Fire” in exhibition at the conclusion of the competition. A surprise entertainment act of kazoo music performed by all student band member at the end of the performance drew the crowd in with clapping of hands and stomping of feet.

Each year, the marching band must say goodbye to senior students graduating at the end of the school year. Recruitment of middle school kids is an ongoing part of the program. Ridge Marching Band holds many events throughout the season to introduce kids from William Annin Middle School to their program, such as invite them to football games and band practice sessions. This year the middle school band performed the opening national anthem at Ridge HS Marching Band Competition. Here is what some of the seniors who will graduate next June had to say about the program:

Patrick Clarke, one of the drum majors on the band: “This home competition will be my last home competition. It's really quite bittersweet. With each salute I realize that I only have so many left, so I'm doing what I can to trying to improve our show every day.” Clarke wants to study Music Business at the University of Florida next year.

Josh Kluger, percussion leader on the band: “In four years of marching band, I have met many great players, and great people participating. I am happy that I get to be a part of this band for my final year.” Kluger wants to study history and has selected his college of choice.

Bianca Jurewicz, one of the drum majors: “I think this year's show was very well designed for both the music and the movements. I am proud of everyone in the band working hard as a team throughout the season.” She wants to pursue an engineering major in college, and is leaning towards aerospace engineering.

The Marching Band orogram allows students to develop their music proficiency. It goes much further with lessons on teamwork, discipline and winning. Ridge this year has won first Place at the Hunterdon Central High School Marching Band Festival and at the Somerville High School Marching Band Competition. Ridge also won the prestigious Cadets Award of Excellence at the NJ State Championship.

The 2014 Ridge High School Marching Band Competition winning bands for each size group are:
Group 1A – 1st Place:  Lenape Valley Regional High School - Stanhope NJ
Group 2A – 1st Place: Hackettstown High School - Hackettstown NJ
Group 2A – 2nd Place: Voorhees High School - Glen Gardner NJ
Group 2A – 3rd Place: Wayne Valley High School - Wayne NJ
Group 3A – 1st Place: Union High School (NJ) - Union NJ
Group 3A – 2nd Place: Pequannock Township High School - Pompton Plains NJ
Group 3A – 3rd Place: South Plainfield High School - South Plainfield NJ,
Group 4A – 1st Place: Vernon Township High School - Vernon NJ
Group 4A – 2nd Place: Linden High School - Linden NJ
Group 5A – 1st Place: Somerville High School (NJ) - Somerville NJ
Group 5A – 2nd Place: Port Chester High School - Port Chester NY