By Julia Duggan
On Halloween, the college awoke to cymbals crashing, drummers drumming and trumpets warming up their sound for the New Jersey Marching Band Championship hosted by the College. This is a high school marching band competition where 40 schools competed between four different categories to see which marching band was the best. The competition started at 6:30 a.m. and finished at around 9 p.m.
The bands were divided into four different categories based on the size of the marching band. Class A encompasses the smallest marching bands that have 0-49 members. Class AA encompasses bands that have 50-69 members. Class AAA includes marching bands that have 70-99 members and class AAAA is the largest with 100 members or more.
The winners for the 2021 championships are Class A Wayne Valley High School, Class AA Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Class AAA Elizabeth High School and Class AAAA John P. Stevens High School. All the bands that competed performed in Lions stadium.
To accommodate all the buses and equipment that would be arriving on campus, the College closed lots 4 and 5. Lot 3 was even used as one of the many warmup areas.
A majority of the students and faculty from the music department were volunteers for the day. They did everything from leading bands to warmup areas to bringing food for the judges, to cleaning up after the competition ended. The music education members especially enjoyed the competition because they were able to observe a variety of ways to run and teach marching bands, and most of the students will work with marching bands at some point in their teaching careers.
“I like marching band, I miss marching band, so I wanted to volunteer for this,” said Gianna Marrano, a sophomore music education major. “I think this is a very valuable experience as a person who is training to be a music educator.”
Marrano was one of the band liaisons for the day. She was in charge of greeting specific bands that were assigned to her and making sure they were in the proper warmup areas. In addition, she also led several bands to the Lions Stadium so they could complete and made sure that no one became lost. All bands were assigned a liaison since each band was required to split into different sections to warm up before the competition.
Other College music students were assisting behind the scenes by making sure the judges had lunch and dinner. Others were selling tickets to the competition, and some students were sitting with music faculty answering any questions prospective students had about the college.
“I figured this would be a great way to see things behind the scenes and to get a feel as to how marching bands are run,” said Deivy Mejia, a sophomore music education major.