WEST ORANGE, NJ - Music filled the West Orange High School campus on Oct. 10 as the Marching Mountaineers hosted their Third Annual Marching Band Invitational showcasing nine bands from across the region in competition.

Marching bands competed in four categories based on band size:

  • Group A: Columbia HS, Westwood HS, Wayne Valley HS
  • Group 2A: Mount Olive HS, Livingston HS, Morris Hills HS
  • Group 3A: Piscataway HS, Verona HS
  • Group 4A: West Milford High School

Volunteers including members of the Music Boosters, returning band alumni, and marching band helped coordinate the event by directing traffic, escorting bands to various locations around the high school campus, and providing refreshments at the stadium.

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Event sponsors, Global Construction and United Rental, as well as a multitude of small businesses and eateries located in and around West Orange, contributed services and donations to help facilitate the event.

In addition to a 50/50 raffle, music spirit wear including shirts, hats, and jewelry was available for sale by "Musically Inclined" and homemade baked goods were sold—all to benefit the high school Music Boosters.

Following performances from competing bands, the Marching Mountaineers took the field in exhibition with their program, "Scenes from the Far East – Pursuit, Reflection, Conquest," which included Pursuit by René Dupéré from the Cirque de Soleil production of The Last Emperor Theme by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Khan by Julie Giroux.

The event ended with the presentation of awards for each division along with caption awards, such as: Best Visual, Best Overall Effect, Best Music, Best Color Guard and Best Percussion.

In Class A, the Wayne Valley High School Indian Marching Band took home top awards for their show "The Tribe " winning first place with a score of 80.9 and taking all caption awards.

The Morris Hills High School Scarlett Knights won first place in Class 2A for their performance of "Masquerade" with a score of 85.4, as well as the awards for Best Overall Effect, Best Percussion, Best Music, and Best Visual Effect. Mount Olive High School took home the award for Best Color Guard.

In Class 3A, the Piscataway High School Superchief Marching Band won for their program "Four Seasons" scoring 81.6 and the Best Color Guard, Best Music and Best Visual Effect awards, while Verona High School won Best Overall Effect and Best Percussion.

As the only ones in their division, the West Milford Highlander Marching Band won in Class 4A with a score of 86.9 for their show "Arabesque."

West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore and West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi were on hand to present the Mayor's Award for best overall band, which went to West Milford.

"Saturday was a huge success," said West Orange High School Associate Band Director Erin Lagatic. She lauded the efforts of public workers, school faculty and volunteers for helping to execute the day's events.

"Over 1,000 participants and 1,500 spectators enjoyed the talented Marching Bands, which participated in the competition," said Richard Adelsohn, president of the West Orange High School Music Boosters.

"I have been repeatedly delighted and amazed by the level of support from our volunteers, the band staff, the Board of Education and the town,” he said. “I look forward to next year's Invitational."

The Marching Mountaineers will continue their competitive season as they take the field at Vernon High School on Oct. 17, Mount Olive High School on Oct. 24, and USBands State Championships at Rutgers on Oct. 31.

Austin Bartola is a junior at West Orange High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto.net.