RANDOLPH, NJ- On a crisp October night at Randolph High School, the football stadium was buzzing with students,  parents, and community members, as the marching bands of 12 local high schools prepared to play.

Pulling into the parking lot, in every corner there was a different band practicing, making sure their routine was perfect. Vibrant, brightly-colored flags were being twirled and rifles were being tossed as the color guards of each school reviewed their dances.

Randolph High School's annual 'Under The Stars' marching band competition had just begun.

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As the night progressed, each band took to the field to perform an original routine, playing a mash-up or medley of songs in formation, complete with the color guards’ added splash of, well, color. Stiff and meticulous as soldiers, each band executed their performance flawlessly, and the audience was left in awe.

For many band participants,  this event is the culmination months, or even years of hard work and continuous practice, and for this reason it's extremely meaningful to them.

As a senior, the event is only heightened in importance. Said Alto Saxophone Section Leader Meredith LaBold, "Band has been a big part of my life for a long time and when I joined marching band, the experience went to a higher level. Being a part of a band that can work so well together and accomplish something as great as our show really makes it all worth it. With my last Under the Stars, I can look back and feel like I have grown and gained life experiences that I would only dream of having if I wasn't in band."

Jeanette Schwalm, a flute player, agreed: "You really feel like a part of a family. Everyone is in it together working towards the same goal. Under the Stars really heightens that sense of community even more...you can just feel the energy coming from the entire band. It's honestly an incredible feeling."

It’s evident how much value Under The Stars has to the members of the band and it was truly spectacular to see all their hard work pay off. While it was easy to forget that the night was indeed a competition because of how striking each band was, the winners for the night were as follows:

As a side note, the hosting school ( Randolph ) does not compete in their own festival, but performs an exhibition.  A video of that exhibition is at the bottom of this story.

Division I

1st Place - High Point HS; score 65.7

2nd Place - Elmwood Park HS; score 64.1

3rd Place - Belvidere HS; score 61.3

Best Color Guard - High Point HS

Best Percussion - High Point HS

Best Music - High Point HS


Division II

1st Place - Chatham HS; score 82.2

2nd Place - Morristown HS; score 72.1

Best Color Guard - Chatham HS

Best Percussion - Chatham HS

Best Music - Chatham HS


Division III

1st Place - Nutley HS; score 79.7

2nd Place - Columbia HS; score 76.2

3rd Place - Dover HS; score 74.6

4th Place - Warren Hills HS; score 74.4

5th Place - Hopatcong HS; score 72.0

Best Color Guard - Nutley HS

Best Percussion - Nutley HS

Best Music - Nutley HS


Division V

1st Place - West Milford HS; score 89.3

2nd Place - Mendham HS; score 64.1

Best Color Guard - West Milford HS

Best Percussion - West Milford HS

Best Music - West Milford HS



Best Color Guard - West Milford HS

Best Percussion - Chatham HS

Best Music - West Milford HS

Best Band Overall - West Milford HS


Some amazing video from above provided by Glideby JJ...