UPDATE; THE EVENT WAS CANCELED DUE TO PENDING SNOW. INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED, WHEN AVAILABLE, ON WHEN THE COMPETITION MAY BE RESCHEDULED.
The public is invited to experience the exciting performances of 20 high school marching bands — with more 1,400 musicians — at the second annual Ridge High School Marching Band Competition, to begin at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge.
All are invited to enjoy music, marching and flags, plus lots of food and snacks, said Don Grossmann, publicity chairman for the marching band.
The 2011 competition at Ridge High School’s Lee Field will be split into an afternoon program, to begin at 2 p.m., and an evening program, starting at 7 p.m. (7 pm). Awards ceremonies will conclude each program, at 5:15 p.m. and at 9:30 pm. A special “surprise” act will perform at approximately 4:45 p.m. prior to the first awards ceremony, Grossmann said.
Ridge, the host band, will perform in exhibition, in all new uniforms this year, at the conclusion of the evening program. Among the other area bands competing are Bernards High School from Bernardsville, and Watchung Hills Regional High School.
The township's own William Annin Middle School wind ensemble will perform the opening National Anthem immediately before the 2 p.m. start.
Tickets will be available at the Lee Field gate starting at 1 p.m. Admission includes both the afternoon and evening program. Additional event information can be found at the Ridge Marching Band Competition website: www.wix.com/rhsmbc/2011.
Although Ridge will perform their 2011 show “The Lion King” at this weekend’s Ridge Marching Band Competition, as the host school, they will only perform in exhibition. Featuring music from the Broadway musical composed by Elton John and Tim Rice, the band’s four part show includes the popular songs "Circle of Life," "The Stampede," "Shadowland",and "The King of Pride Rock."
The Ridge High School Band Parents Association will pitch in to serve food and snacks throughout the programs. Friends and Neighbors of local band students can purchase “Air Grams” (broadcast announcements) and “Candy Grams” to show their support.
Those who have never attended a marching band competition before will be in for a treat, Grossmann said. Marching bands have evolved significantly over the past few decades, he said. "The pageantry and the power of the bands, the creativity of their music and shows, and the beauty of the color guard flags ensure a unique and enjoyable experience for the entire family."
Ridge High School is proud to host this annual event, which kicked off last fall, and is becoming one of the township’s top cultural events of the year, Grossmann said.
Event manager Han Kieftenbeld said, “We are only in our second year of organizing this unique event and we have very rapidly grown from eight bands last year to 20 this year. This creates a buzz with our band students, the staff and parent organization as well as the local community, and is a positive way of promoting music programs in our schools."
The event, the second largest marching band competition in New Jersey, is thanks to the tireless support of current and alumni parents, he said.
Ridge Drum Major Majd Abousleiman said, "This competition is important because it shows that Ridge High School cares about and excels in academics, sports and the fine arts. It encourages everyone in the area to support the music program and also hear the sounds of many great bands from surrounding communities."
Section Leader Julia Grossmann said she agreed. "Hosting our own competition brings the band community together by supporting a common goal. It gets us more involved in the marching band world and establishes our name and reputation as a highly competitive band.”
The Marching Bands compete in Groups based on band size and level of experience, from smaller bands (Group I) to the largest (Group VI). Most “Open” bands will compete at the USSBA National Championships at Annapolis, MD in November. “A” bands are preparing for a separate USSBA National Championship at Allentown, Pa.
Afternoon Program at 2 p.m.
Group IA: Manville, Paramus Catholic
Group IIA: Belleville, Bernards, Dover, Hasbrouck Heights, Hicksville, N.Y.
Group IVA: Watchung Hills, Wayne Hills
Group VIA and VI Open: New Providence, Hunterdon Central
Evening Program at 7 p.m.
Group IIIA: Columbia, Hanover Park, Livingston, Metuchen, North Warren, Vorhees
Group III Open: Glen Ridge
Group VA: Verona
The Ridge Marching Band also announced it captured first place in Group IIIA at the 31st Somerville Pioneer Marching Band Festival, held last Saturday at Somerville High School.
Ridge also collected caption awards for “Best Music," “Best Overall Effect," “Best Visual Performance,” and “Best Color Guard.”
Band Director Daniel Zugale complimented the band on their performance. “They’ve been working hard this year and I think this is a good boost for morale. The band has been focusing on improving the visual performance. In addition, they have been achieving a much stronger sound from the beginning to the end of the show”.
Ridge achieved a season high score of 84.275 in its final competition prior to the New Jersey State Championships and National Championships in November.
Zugale added, “I hope this victory will motivate the band to work harder. At the state championships, we will be competing against 17 other bands and if we want to place well, we are going to have to earn it.”
This year’s Ridge band has a large percentage of freshmen. “The freshmen have been awesome,” said Zugale. “I am confident they will be ready for the championships and will be a great foundation to continue to build the band”.
Additional information can be found at on the Ridge Marching Band website.