Huntington High School’s Blue Devil marching band is celebrating completion of its recent summer training and camp that the group held at J. Taylor Finley Middle School. The daily sessions stretched over a two week period and have set the stage for what musicians, color guard members and band staff believe is going to be another exceptional year.
Founded in 1934, the Blue Devil band marches in several parades, including on Homecoming Day, performs at halftime of the varsity football team’s home games and at the high school’s fall pep rally and participates in weekly competitions around the metropolitan area culminating at the state championships at Syracuse in late October.
Few competitive bands in New York can match Huntington’s storied tradition. Music teacher James Cloyd Doty organized the first Blue Devil band in 87 years ago. It was open to boys and girls in all four grades. That same inclusiveness continues today and membership has been expanded to Finley students, too.
Nadeera Ali, Emma Hannigan and Isabella Lima are this year’s Blue Devil marching band drum majors. Rachel Morina is the field major. Veteran music teacher Brian Stellato is the band’s director. The staff includes experienced professionals who are all exceptionally dedicated to the Huntington program. Many are Blue Devil band alumni.
“The band has been working very hard to learn our show, ‘Into the Raging River,’” Ms. Morina said. “Everyone has put forward their best foot to prepare for our family show on Sunday. Half of our band is comprised of new members, but it’s been really wonderful to see all of the veterans guiding the way.”
Heavy rains and intense heat didn’t derail the band’s enthusiasm or training. “Even though this week was extremely difficult due to weather obstacles, our new and old members plowed through and did their best,” Ms. Ali said. “Overall, we are so excited for a great season!”
The band’s student leadership is up to the task at hand with each of the teenagers expressing pride in the organization. The group includes flute section leaders Lauren Landolfi and Jazlyn Chapas-Oliva; clarinet section leader Charlotte Simon; alto sax section leader Cecilia Kye; low woodwind/brass section leader Matthew Levinson; mello section leader Aidan Geller and trumpet section leaders Emma Glascock and Liam Tucker
Emma Glascock is the brass captain with Cecilia Kye the woodwind captain. Jasjeet Kaur is the battery captain. Lauren Holly and Eliza Walther lead the pit section. Olivia Conte and Nathali Ulloa are the color guard captains.
“Band camp was great,” Ms. Lima said. “It’s been the first activity that has felt normal for me since the beginning of the pandemic. I’ve had the privilege to welcome so many wonderful new members to our band family and they really have started to have the marching band experience. Although we lost a day to rain and spent the rest in blistering heat, we still had a great time and I have high hopes for this season!”
The band will perform halftime shows at varsity football games on Saturday, September 11 and Saturday, September 18. The Blue Devils will compete at Brentwood (September 19), Copiague (September 26), Malverne (October 2), Arlington (October 10), Sachem (October 16) and Mineola (October 23). The state championships are set for the end of October at Syracuse.
The Blue Devils will also march in the Homecoming Day parade on Saturday, October 9 and perform at halftime of the varsity football game that day.
The summer training and band camp has set the stage for what Mr. Stellato and the staff and musicians and color guard members all hope will be another incredible year for the Blue Devils.
“Band camp went really well,” Ms. Hannigan said. “The members did an amazing job at learning and memorizing the music along with the drill for our show. I think this season is going to be great.”