NAHS Marching Band Makes History!

Olivia Mistretta

Olivia Mistretta and Emily Irizarry

A cool wind blew over the field and excitement was in the air as the marching band and color guard moved into position. It was a noteworthy day in our band’s history: The first time NAHS marching band performed in a competition. In previous years, our band was grouped as “festival class”, essentially just performing in parades or festivals. This year everything changed as we ascended to the competitive rank of 1A.

There are essentially 2 competitive classes–A Class and Open Class. Class A marching bands have skills ranging from basic to intermediate. Open Class is reserved for bands with a higher skill level and more experience. The 1 stands for a band with under 38 members. Our band stands in the beginner group for small bands, which is normal considering the size of our school and the fact that this is our first competitive season.

Our program this year was “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, performed in three parts. The three movements are essentially a melody that blends some of the most recognizable songs in the movie soundtrack, including “What’s This?”, “Oogie Boogie’s Song”, and “Sally’s Song”. In addition to the soundtrack, the band and color guard had a choreographed routine where they moved to the music.

Overall, the performance ranking was exactly what it should have been for the first competition season. The judge called North Arlington Marching Band and announced that we had received a score of 70.76. This score placed us in third place out of the three bands in our section, 1-A. Nonetheless, cheers and shouts of joy could be heard as the students watched the drum majors and color guard captains receive their 3rd place trophy on the field.

For the second competition, the band received a score of 73, three points higher than before. Additionally, the color guard was placed second overall! On our third and last competition, we   received a score of 76, and we screamed in joy! We had improved with each competition, which means by next year the band can aspire to get into the 80s. Everyone in the band enjoyed watching other bands perform, gaining ideas and inspiration from watching their shows. Our band walked out of the competition with a lot of pride knowing that we had just made NAHS history.

So what did people have to say?

Band Director Mx. Lemley commented after the first competition, “The Viking Marching Band was so excited to march in their first competition. I have never been happier than seeing the band jump up and down in the stands to win 3rd place out of 3rd. The band displayed excellent sportsmanship and musicianship, and I can’t wait to see them grow and learn and become more competitive.”

Sidney Mejia, Senior and Color Guard Captain, discussed how she helped prepare the guard for competitions this year, “I try to hold as many sectionals as possible and make sure that the majority of people can make them. The purpose of the sectionals are to make sure everyone is comfortable with the material, the guard can ask questions and reassure themselves of what they already know. This helps them be on their A-Game when performance day comes.”

Color Guard Captain Claudia Fernandes quite enjoyed the first competition and displayed hope for the future, “I believe the competition went extremely well for the first time and it was a life-changing experience. Though we came in the bottom half, we are still learning to aim for perfection!”

Paige Statfield, Color Guard Captain, was especially proud of the final competition, “The last competition was my favorite because we all came together in the end.”

Drum Major Frank Choinski was very proud after the final competition as well, remarking, “I am most proud that we were finally able to perform the whole show.”

Drum Major Edward Mistretta also voiced hope for the band and described what it was like to make school history, “Having the privilege of being one of the drum majors during this season has been very exciting and has definitely been a year of ‘firsts’, from learning complex drill to performing in the first marching band competitions in NAHS history.”

Finally, Drum Major Matthew Candelario commented about his favorite aspect of the show this year, “Honestly, it was the overall music and seeing people in the crowd smile as they recognized the music and sang along.”