Huntington High School’s Blue Devil marching band wrapped up its competitive season with a fifth place finish in the New York State Field Band Conference championships in Syracuse last week.
Huntington competed against some very strong bands. Only 1.6 points separated the Blue Devils from second place Kingston. Huntington scored 85.15 at the championships, trailing Horseheads (89.75), Kingston (86.60), Orchard Park (86.45) and Corning-Painted Post (86.15).
Blue Devil band director Brian Stellato and his staff, drum majors Robert Jean-Gilles, Jennifer Low and Michael Reed, field major Andrew Knowles and section leaders are all proud of the season turned in by the band’s musicians and color guard.
“I’m beyond happy with how the season went for the Huntington Blue Devil marching band,” Jean-Gilles said. “So many memories were made for so many people and it does sadden me to leave this amazing program. But I know that the future of this band is in great hands.”
The band impressed judges and audiences across the metropolitan area over the past two months as the Blue Devils went about winning trophies at weekly invitational competitions.
“We had an amazing performance at Syracuse and everyone walked off the field feeling proud,” Ms. Low said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better show to end the season with.”
The band and color guard began preparing for this year’s field show last spring. A mini-camp and full weeklong camp along with evening rehearsals helped the teenagers master the technical aspects of the show.
“There is an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment throughout the band that is consistent with the amazing season we had and the show that we put on at the dome on Sunday,” Mr. Reed said.
The Blue Devils were sharp at the Syracuse Carrier Dome last Sunday. Huntington’s marching band history dates to 1934 and since its founding the group has paraded and competed across the country.
“My greatest takeaway was the amazing spirit and pride everyone had the entire season,” senior musician Christopher Mavrogian. “Every group has their ups and downs, but this band truly soared from start to finish.”
The Blue Devils had their hearts set on winning the state title, but everyone agrees now that fifth place in New York is pretty darn good.
“Out of the five years that I’ve been a part of this program it is obvious to that this season has been the best,” said senior Neil Jean-Baptiste, one of the clarinet section leaders. “It’s all because of our younger and newer members. I had the honor to educate our members and witness pride grow throughout the season. Everyone became leaders in our family. I’m very excited to see what comes in the future.”
The Blue Devils are upbeat and happy with how the season unfolded and how it concluded last weekend in Syracuse.
“This season was by far the best,” said senior Zubair Ali, one of the low brass section leaders. “I felt such camaraderie between each individual and such pride in our band. We put forth our best efforts and I truly cherished every moment. It was very emotional for me since I was section leader and it was my last year. I forged new relationships with new members, which I hope to maintain and I had a blast with all my veteran friends. This season was truly an honor to be a part of and I’m so proud to be a Huntington Blue Devil marching band member!”