Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 05 October 2012 00:00
Four years ago this October, Division Avenue High School (DAHS) played host to the New York State Field Band Conference Competition Home Show. On Sunday, Oct. 14 the marching band, all new members, will get their first shot at hosting the showcase and competition event.
“I am very excited for the students, parents, and community of Division Avenue and Levittown for being able to host their first NYSFB Marching Band Home Show since 2008,” said Michael Bastone of DAHS’ music department. “My sincere thanks go out to all the students and parents who have worked so hard to make this event possible; I consider myself very lucky to be able to work with so many talented students each and every day, and I am truly honored to be their director.”
For many, this will be their only chance to show off their high school talent; 12 of the marching band’s members are graduating seniors, seven from DAHS, and five from MacArthur High School. The band is made up of 48 members total, including the talents of musicians such as senior Jesse Lall who plays bassoon and baritone sax; Brianna Chua, this year’s section leader and color guard who has played alto sax since ninth grade, and flute since third grade; and Melanie Dudek, a junior, who is the brass section leader and field major. She has played baritone since fourth grade.
“The whole program was cut a couple of years back, so this is a big deal for us,” said sophomore Anthony Montoya. He has played tenor saxophone since third grade.
DAHS Principal Francesco Ianni could not be more proud of the accomplishment. He said, “Participating in our music department gives our children opportunities that could literally change their future. It is my pleasure to welcome this spirited event to our home, and I am sure we will have an unforgettable time that will be remembered for years to come.”
Stephanie Wagner, a junior, will be featured as a first-year drum major, the conductor of the marching band. This is her third year in the band; she has also performed as a field major. She has played clarinet and saxophone for 10 years.
Jessica Genzale, a junior, said, “Marching band has a big family feel to it; we spend a lot of time with each other between competition and practice, which could be up to 13 extra hours including rehearsals.” Genzale has played oboe since third grade and now also plays the alto sax with marching band.
The DAHS Marching Band will be on exhibition during the home show on Oct. 14. The visiting schools that will compete during the day will be from Walt Whitman, Copiague, Sachem, and Brentwood high schools.
“They work hard, they are very respectful, and they are a pleasure to work with; they have put together a great show this year, “The Machine,” and they are continually trying to make it better,” DAHS Assistant Director Ken Vignona said. “They are a great bunch of kids; I look forward to Syracuse.”
DAHS is on track, having accumulated enough points and participated in enough visiting home shows to qualify for the final competition that will be held in Syracuse on Oct. 28. The school’s band is one of the smallest competing bands in the division.
“It’s our first show since 2008 and it would be so great if the community came out to support these kids,” said Ellen Wagner whose daughter is this year’s drum major.
The Home Show will be held at Division Avenue High School on Sunday, Oct. 14 beginning at 9 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public.