The Huntington Blue Devil marching band strives for perfection. The group is comprised of serious musicians and an exceptional color guard that enhances the field show presentation in a manner few other schools can match.
The Blue Devils are feeling invincible after a week long summer camp that brought the band together as one unit. The group rehearsed the music and field movements of this year’s show, Americana, which features music from “American Salute,” “Chester” and “American Faces.”
The Blue Devil marching band was organized
in 1934. (Darin Reed photo.)
The camp played out at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. The setting proved ideal for the band to work on mastering this year’s show. The group had the building and fields to itself. Absent distractions, the musicians and color guard members made rapid progress.
“The 2017 Huntington Blue Devil marching band is truly off to an amazing start,” said high school music teacher Brian Stellato, who serves as the band’s director. “The group has already begun to gel musically, visually and socially. A great deal of the successful start is due to the outstanding group of student leaders we have in place this year along with the absolutely awesome group of first-year members.”
The band learned over 70 sets of drill and combined them with music in only five days. “This is not something that is accomplished every year and it’s a credit to the kid’s hard work and enthusiasm,” Mr. Stellato said. “I cannot wait for the Huntington community to get a look at our 2017 production, Americana.”
This year’s band is comprised of about 125 enthusiastic teenagers. “I’m truly proud of everyone in this band,” field major Adina Kirkland said. “We all pushed ourselves to the limit in order to complete the entire show in only five days, which doesn’t happen every year.”
The Blue Devils will march in a pair of parades this fall, perform at halftime of several home varsity football games and compete in a string of regional shows before trekking to Syracuse for the state championships.
“I couldn’t have pictured my last band camp ending on such an incredible note,” drum major Jamie Rosenbauer said. “The amount of work everyone put in this week to create this year’s show is astounding. I can’t wait to continue this season with this band.”
Huntington High School music teacher James Cloyd Doty organized the first band in 1934. It was open to boys and girls in all four classes, according to the 1936 edition of The Huntingtonian, the high school yearbook. “Although newly organized, this group has worked very hard and with the cooperation of the student body, the band members have received blue and white uniforms,” states the yearbook. “They gave a new feeling of school spirit to all of the occasions at which they appeared this year.”
More than eight decades after its founding, the Blue Devil band is still going strong. The late summer camp has set the stage for what Mr. Stellato hopes will be a very special season.
“Words can’t describe how happy and excited I am to end my last band camp on such a good note,” drum major Mardnie Mentor said. “The week was such an amazing experience for both the new members and seniors. It was refreshing to see everyone be so passionate about what they were doing. Because of this I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has to offer.”
Huntington will be competing at Brentwood, Copiague, Walt Whitman, Arlington, Sachem and Mineola in coming weeks. The Blue Devils are hosting their own show on Sunday, October 1. The state championships are set for Sunday, October 29 in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
Everyone associated with this year’s band is taking their role seriously. The musicians and color guard are aiming to get as close to perfection as any high school band can. The professional and student leadership are in sync and collaborating on making this a season to remember.
“I am very honored to be part of the outstanding student leadership this year,” drum major Katie Riley said. “Our band camp was very successful and productive. I was so amazed to see how determined and passionate everyone was. I always love seeing the proud parents at the parent show and for them to see what we’ve been working on for the week. And for the newbies; their whole families start to understand what marching band means to people. It’s very special.”