Wayne Hills Marching Band Takes Home Gold and School Record in Eventful Weekend

By Aidan LaRusso, Staff Writer

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The Wayne Hills Marching Band has done an incredible job persevering through a tough season, already receiving a gold rating at their annual NJMEA home competition on October 19th and second place out of thirteen bands at the Tournament of Bands Chapter 10 Regional Championship on the 20th.

This year’s marching band show is called Spellbound, yielding the slogan “Bring out the magic!” The story behind the show revolves around a young, curious apprentice who takes his master’s staff and tries to use his power to control the band. However, lacking control and experience, the apprentice just can’t get the hang of magic, constantly fights for control over the band with the Drum Major, who ultimately wins over him.

With Eddie Easse leaving the marching band staff and Director Matthew Paterno stepping into the band director position, as well as Bo Park being recruited as the new Drill Instructor, the band as a whole has adapted to and overcame the new circumstances. One of the most challenging trials was adapting to the strict teaching style of Park, who also instructs for the Fusion Drum Corps in Lake Hopatcong. After being shown several new techniques, both marching rookies and veterans alike worked together to take on these new techniques.

Last Saturday was Wayne Hills’ Annual NJMEA Marching Band festival, Wayne Hills’ 32nd home competition and the first half of a busy weekend for the band. 16 bands, including Wayne Hills, come together each year to compete in individual performance, achieving a Bronze, Silver, or Gold rating. The home competition is almost always the most exciting event of the season for Wayne Hills, as well as the most fun, as the band is led on by their varsity football team, varsity cheerleaders, and band alumni. It serves as a pseudo-ending for the season and hypes everyone up to put on their best performance.

The band certainly did put on their best performance, earning a gold rating. “[I feel] accomplished,” says freshman Heather Boronow. “I had a lot of fun at my first home comp.”

While the home competition is fun for the underclassmen, it can fuel mixed emotions from the seniors. At the end of the performance, the seniors leave their marching band shoes on the field as a tradition to show that they really did leave everything on the field in their last performance. “The last competition felt bittersweet since it was our last home performance, but overall we were excited because it was the best we have done all year,” explains senior Drum Captain Tarrah Bilto.

Though this was their last home performance, it certainly wasn’t their last. The Tournament of Bands Chapter 10 Regional Championship at Union was the band’s second half of their weekend. The weather was terrible, raining from when the band arrived to when they left. This did not stop the band, however, constantly encouraging each other and hyping each other up for them to do their best. Powering through the rain, the band put on an incredible performance in conditions that would normally hold bands back from doing their best. As Wayne Hills listened to the scores being listed off of each band, they waited with anticipation for their score. What they received was an incredible 90.915, placing 2nd out of 13 bands and setting a new school TOB record in their 4 years of performance within TOB.

Many upperclassmen felt extremely accomplished and satisfied, working their hardest to get over 90, which the band recognizes as an outstanding achievement. “I felt ecstatic when I heard the score,” recalls junior Sal Anzaldi. “We’ve been working hard all year and it was nice to hear that we got the score we did.”

Many of the band members recognized the awesome effort which everyone put forward, certainly, the most anyone had all year. “They want to succeed really drove us to perform we did Sunday.” explains senior Drum Major Logan Espardinez.

The marching band’s season is not over yet. They have one more chance to break their TOB record again on Saturday, October 26th at 5:45 when they compete at Montville HS. They also have another competition on Sunday, October 27th at 3:45 at Foley Field. You can also watch them at the upcoming Wayne Hills vs. PCTI football game on Friday during halftime.

You can view their record-breaking championship performance in the video below.

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