Arts & Entertainment

CHS Marching Band Looks Ahead Following First-Place Competition Win

The marching band recently won in Group III-A at the 19th Annual Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Marching Band Festival (photo from 2016). Credits: TAPinto Photo Archive

CRANFORD, NJ – The Cranford High School Marching Band will storm Memorial Field for the first time this season at Friday’s football game.

Last Saturday, Sept. 6, the band took first place in Group III-A at The Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Marching Band Festival. They have two competitions upcoming in October.

“We’re looking forward to all of the football games and our upcoming competitions,” band director Daniel Chernosky said.

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This year, the band, comprised of 63 students, is performing “The Music of Karl Jenkins,” a trio of songs from the new age composer. The group will be led by two drum majors – senior Mikaela Comas and junior Minato Hiraoka.

“When we look for different shows, there are three things we always consider,” Chernosky said. “Is the level of music appropriate, not only for high school bands but our particular band? Does it feature instruments we have strength in? Is the music fun to play and fun to hear?”

The band members have enjoyed the show so far, Chernosky said. To learn the music and drills, they participated in a week-long band camp this summer and continue to practice in class and outside rehearsals.

“We’re trying to get them to perform more and do enough repetitions that it becomes muscle memory under pressure,” Chernosky said. “It’s important to focus on all aspects from roll steps to posture to horn angles.”

Although it’s been a challenge to adjust to Cranford High School’s new block scheduling, the students have taken it with stride.

“It’s giving them more ownership and a chance to get things done outside of class,” Chernosky said. “With time, it’ll feel normal. For the amount of time we’ve had and the point of year we’re at, I think they’re right where they should be for kids their age.”

Despite less class time, Chernosky is optimistic that the band will be able to perform its show with pride and finesse.

“I think this year’s band is a really nice bunch of kids, as usual, that are out there doing something much harder than it looks,” Chernosky said. "If they’re doing it well, it should look simple. But it’s actually a very awkward thing to do as well.”

According to Chernosky, it’s important to focus on the band’s environment as well.

“It’s about establishing a culture that’s both positive and friendly,” he said. “I really like it when the kids in the ensemble get along together and have a good time. They need a safe environment to learn in and make mistakes without being ridiculed.”

The CHS Marching Band will take the field at halftime during this Friday’s football game at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field. Additionally, the band will perform in competitions at Somerville High School on Saturday, Oct. 7 and Ridge High School on Saturday, Oct. 21.

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