SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School saw eager fans filling the stands for the fifth annual Marching Band Festival under the lights on Saturday.

This festival is the kickoff of the marching band season.  It comes at the end of a two-week summer band camp and two weeks of after-school practices.   Ten bands from all across New Jersey and Pennsylvania flocked to the field to perform at the SPF marching band’s home show. 

The festivities started at 5 p.m. as each band showed their outdoor pageantry prowess in hopes of winning an award and the night culminated with an exhibition by Scotch Plains and Fanwood’s own Raider Marching Band under the joint direction of Mr. Durand Thomas, Mr. John J. Gillick and Mr. Charlie Jackson, music teachers throughout the district.

Sign Up for E-News

“It was great having [the other bands] come out and show their hard work,” said Samantha McCallion, a junior and three-year member of the SPF band. In reference to her own performance, she quipped: “I loved the energy we gave and am immensely proud of our band.”

The band will continue to perform its 2013 show “Beyond the Clouds” at many other venues, including home football games every Saturday and competitions at Westfield, Cranford, North Plainfield, South Plainfield, Piscataway and the Yamaha Cup at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.

“I'm very excited to see just how far we will go this season. We have a lot more work to put into the show, but this may be one of the best marching bands that the school has seen since I started marching three years ago,” boasted Angelo Chaia a senior and drum major in the Scotch Plains band.  “I am extremely proud of the band. We have been practicing very well nearly every day of the school week, and it's been great to see how it all comes together on the field with the audience.”

Whether cooped up in the stands blasting the Hey Song during a football game or parading across a field in style, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Raider Marching Band is sure to have a fantastic and memorable season.