HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The Ridge Marching Band has won back-to-back first place trophies in its first two weeks of competition. Saturday’s performance at Hillsborough earned the 94-member band not only the first-place award but a clean sweep of all of the caption awards: Best Music, Best Visual, Best Effect, Best Color Guard and Best Percussion.

However, the band is not resting on its laurels this week.

Band Director Dan Zugale commented, “While it is always fun to collect trophies, the students and staff are focused on making the show even better for the big events coming up later in the season.”

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The band’s first major event is this Saturday when they march onto the field at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford to compete in the Yamaha Cup.

”This is a highlight of the season as it is always a great experience to play in such an impressive venue,” Zugale said. Last year, they competed in the Class III-A division and won fourth place at MetLife. However, growth likely spurred by the band’s State Championship win has put them in Class IV-A this season, competing with bands that have 75 to 95 members. The band will compete in the NJ State Championship at Rutgers University’s HighPoint Solutions Stadium on Oct. 22, and the Ridge High School Band Association will host the home competition on Oct. 29 at Lee Field with 15 bands from around New Jersey and New York.

This year’s show, “Royals,” combines pieces from a funeral march performed in 1695 to Lordes’ 2012 electro pop hit, from a current epic series on the small screen to a Freddie Mercury song in the opening credits of a 1980s theatrical release. In Part 1, “Funeral Music for Queen Mary” by Henry Purcell moves into “Theme from Game of Thrones” by Ramin Djawadi, and Part 2 opens with “Royals” by Lorde, and original percussion by Joe Keefe. The show concludes with Part 3, “Princes of the Universe by Queen,” and closes with “Crown Imperial” by William Walton.

Zugale is in his eighth year as director of bands at Ridge High School. He is aided by Paul Campbell, assistant director; Clay Beyert and Nicole Hunnemeder, music instructors; George Mattis, Color Guard captain head; Christine Daly and Kasey Zampella, Color Guard instructors; Dennis Argul, music arranger; Joe Keefe, percussion captain head; Tom Wang, Nick Eisenstein, Charley Clough and Amy Hawley, percussion instructors; and George Mattis, drill designer.

Student leaders include Drum Majors Devon McKeon, Kyle Feigenwinter and Emily Pan; and section leaders, Flutes: Radhika Puppala; Clarinets: Jeesoo Park; Saxophones: Nikhil Akenapalli; High Brass: Emily Kopchains; Low Winds: Scott Smith; Battery: Ryan Beaudet,; Pit: Vivek Gurumoorthy and Michael Hackett; and Color Guard: Isabel Pardo and Sydni Machnik. Band Managers are Chris Conroy and Sydney Vollmar.

In addition to their busy competition schedule, the Ridge Marching Band plays at half time of every home game and keeps the spirit going in the stands during the game. They also perform a pre-game show at almost every away game. They will close out its competition season with a new appearance at the National Championships in Allentown, PA on November 6.