Blue Devil Band is on the March
The Huntington Blue Devil marching band is ready to move after a successful late August band camp at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. This year's band includes 116 hard working members dedicated to their craft and anxious to compete.
The gifted musicians and talented color guard members are busy mastering the many aspects of this year's field show, Dreams which will face its first competitive test on Saturday, September 16 at 11:30 a.m. at Brentwood High School.
The grueling camp, which stretched each day from early morning to the dark of night, was both fun and challenging for the musicians and the band's staff members.
"It was an incredible week," said Brian Stellato, who co-directs the band along with colleague Jason Giachetti. "The staff had a plan and the kids executed every bit of it. The group took a giant step forward toward the 2012 Huntington Blue Devil marching band figuring out what 'eyes with pride' really means."
The band will participate in competitions throughout the fall at Brentwood, Copiague, Malverne, Arlington, Walt Whitman and Mineola and at the state championships in Syracuse on October 28. The band will also perform in the Unity Day and Homecoming Day parades and during halftime of home Blue Devil football games.
In addition to Messrs. Stellato and Giachetti, the Blue Devil stand includes music arranger Key Poulan, percussion arrangers Mark Bransom and Ariel Campos, drill designer Gregory Hamilton, color guard designers Amy Giachetti and Michael Marchena, battery instructor Michael Alfieri, pit instructor Frank Battista, instructors Alex Prince, Jessica Casteneda, Dan DeOliveira, Noel Bordon, Jonathan Swengler and Sue Graber and color guard instructors Amy Giachetti, Michael Marchena and Lindsay Whiffen.
"We have such a talented and experienced staff," Mr. Stellato said. "The students are tremendously fortunate to get to learn from and work with these professionals."
Over the course of the seven day camp, the Blue Devil band worked daily on the field show production. "Dreams" will be presented in three parts: Dream World, Sweet Dreams and Nightmares. The show runs about seven and one-half minutes. Among the band's members are three seventh graders who have made the commitment to participate
"I felt this was one of, if not the most, successful band camp I've ever been a part of," Mr. Giachetti said. "The kids this year met and exceeded every goal and expectation we set. I have never seen such a motivated group of students so determined to succeed. They were absolutely determined to finish the show by then end of band camp. This was a goal that hasn't been met since 2004."
Students Laura Ironman, Brian McConnell and Jonathan Wood will serve as the 2012 drum majors. Francesca Gray is the field major. The Huntington band will celebrate its 78th anniversary in 2012. Participants routinely express pride in its storied tradition and the band has perennially been one of the state's best.
The Blue Devil band has marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade, Miss America Parade, the Orange Blossom Festival, the 2005 Fiesta Bowl Parade in Arizona and the 2009 Walt Disney World Parade. This marks the 10th season that Huntington will be competing in the New York State Field Band Conference.
Last month's band camp closed with a flourish. Several hundred parents and family members filled the Finley athletic field stands and fanned out on either side of the bleachers in lawn chairs, watching the band members showing off their talents as they ran through the 2012 show. The crowd included Superintendent James W. Polansky and trustees Adam Spector and Jennifer Hebert.
"Band camp was a terrific success," said Joan R. Fretz, district director of fine and performing arts. "The students are so enthusiastic, talented and focused! They were able to learn the entire drill and memorize all of the music for the fall show, while having a wonderful time together with our dedicated staff. They sounded and looked great at the parent show at the end of the camp. We are looking forward to a rewarding and successful season."