Huntington High School’s Blue Devil marching band emerged from its annual intensive camp stronger than ever and ready to entertain crowds and go toe-to-toe with the best bands in the state in a series of competitions.
The show will most certainly go on. The Huntington High School Blue Devil marching band is already eagerly anticipating next fall’s competitive season. The band expects to once again challenge for the New York State Field Band Conference championship.
The Huntington High School Blue Devil marching band is an entrenched institution, with thousands of alumni who have been counted among its ranks over the years. The band has survived changes in its leadership, the normal evolution of its membership and new philosophies and inspirations as the times have dictated. The original bands consisted of several dozen students, a far cry from today’s nearly 150 student strong organization.
The band was organized in 1934 by Ohio native and Oberlin College music teacher James Cloyd Doty. 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. They gave a new feeling of school spirit to all of the occasions at which they appeared this year.”
The 1936 yearbook is the first to picture the marching band dressed in traditional uniforms. The book notes the uniforms were the product of fellow students, most likely referring to a campaign by the General Organization to raise funds for their purchase or an outright grant of monies.
The first director was high school music teacher James C. Doty, who attended Oberlin College in Ohio. The 1936 drum major was Edwin Riggs. He is the first student any yearbook assigned to that prestigious role.
The band has grown over the years to play a major role in the life of the district. Following its humble origins, in later years the marching band would participate in local and national level parades and events, appear on the field at Yankee Stadium, march in the Rose Bowl parade on television and win the state championship in its division. It has garnered a lengthy list of honors far too numerous to note in a short profile
Huntington Blue Devil marching band director Brian Stellato is in his 15th year as a music teacher. A Sachem High School graduate, he earned an undergraduate degree in music education with a concentration in instrumental music at University of Delaware.
A three-year drum major with the University of Delaware’s Fightin’ Blue Hen marching band, Mr. Stellato went on to obtain a master’s degree at Stony Brook University with a concentration in educational leadership. His first teaching position was at Southampton High School in 2003/04. He taught elementary band in the Sachem school district for three years before coming to Huntington in October 2007.
At one time or another, Mr. Stellato has been the marching band’s director, co-director and assistant director. He was the assistant director last year, but stepped back into the top spot when last year’s director, Jessica Castaneda left to take a teaching position in Port Washington.
Mr. Stellato is the director of the high school’s junior symphonic band, wind ensemble and the pit orchestra for the spring musical. He also serves as director of SCOPE’s SCALE summer arts enrichment program, which is held daily throughout July at the high school. He has also been active staff member of the George N. Parks Drum Major Academy, a summer workshop held across the county that provides instruction in conducting, teaching techniques, communication skills and leadership.
This course satisfies the one credit in Music required for graduation. The Band program is a comprehensive program, which includes marching and concert band training and performances. Students may elect to be in the Competitive Marching Band or the Noncompetitive Marching Band. The non-competitive members will be required to perform as a pep band for all home football games including playoffs. These are the performance requirements for the Non-Competitive Marching program.
Students who wish to participate in the Competitive Marching Band will prepare a field show, which is performed at a variety of competitions on Long Island and in the northeast region throughout the fall. Competitive Marching Band members are required to attend two evening rehearsals per week as well as Saturday and Sunday practices or performances during the first quarter. Competitive Marching Band students receive a weighted grade for this additional work.
All Band students audition for seating in two concert bands which become the main program activity after the fall marching season. The Junior Band which consists of members in 9th and 10th grade will perform levels IV-V music. The Senior Band which consists of members in 11th and 12th grade will perform levels V-VI music. The Concert Bands will perform at several school concerts and special functions throughout the year.
The Blue Devil Marching Band has earned national acclaim as one of the finest competitive bands on Long Island. To date, the band has multiple first place awards in the NY State field band competitions. In 2004, the Band won first place in the New York State Field Band Conference Competition, Division LS3 and 2nd Place in the New York City Columbus Day Parade. In 2002, the Band won first place in the USSBA Mid Atlantic Marching Band Championship. The Blue Devil Band has also performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Fiesta Bowl Parade, the Miss America Parade, and at Yankee Stadium. In 1997, they performed in the Disney Hercules Parade in New York City and in 1998, participated in a Disney commercial for the opening of the Animal Kingdom.
REQUIREMENTS:All members of the Band course are required to participate in either Competitive or Non-Competitive Marching Band and perform in the performances listed above. You may not participate in concert band only. All students have a community service marching commitment. Exact 2015-16 rehearsal dates for all new band members as well as summer Band Camp dates and times for Competitive program will be mailed to all grade 8 - 11 band students when available.
IMPORTANT: Students who do not participate in the Summer Band Camp are not eligible for the Competitive Band. For questions about rehearsal and performance requirements, please contact Mr. Giachetti or Mr. Stellato at 673-2053.
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