The public is invited to the third annual Ridge High School Marching Band Competition that begins at 4:25 p.m. this Saturday, and will feature 15 of New Jersey's top high school marching bands with more than 1,000 performing musicians and color guard.
Although Ridge won't compete, the host band will perform its 2012 “The Mask of Zorro” show in exhibition at the conclusion of the competition, followed by an awards ceremony.
The band, which already has been winning competitions and presenting its show at Ridge High School football games, has 75 performers who fill the roles of marching and pit musicians and with the color guard.
The 2012 competition has been elevated to the U.S. Bands “Gold Star” status.
Band Director Dan Zugale said the community and band program are showcased by hosting a competition. “I want to bring what we do to the Basking Ridge community. We have a great program here, but it is also a great way for people to get to know the quality of other local bands.”
The atmosphere at a band competition is truly special and it is a great family friendly evening," Zugale said.
Band member and section leader Julia Grossmann agreed. “This competition is something people of all ages can enjoy.”
Tickets will be available at Ridge High School’s Lee Field gate starting at 3:30 pm. Additional event information can be found at the Ridge Marching Band Competition website.
“We are looking forward to welcoming over 1,000 high school students for a great show of musical and visual display," said Han Kieftenbeld, chairman for the annual event. "All bands have invested significant time and effort into the show that they will be presenting.”
The Ridge marching band's initial competition in 2010 was highly successful, although last year's rare “Halloween” snowstorm canceled the event. Marching band competitions have become very popular throughout the state and country, attracting substantial local audiences and support. Somerville High School’s annual festival celebrated its 32nd anniversary last weekend, according to information from the Ridge band.
“Our competition creates a great sense of camaraderie amongst band students, staff, the parent organization and the local community, and it is a very positive event for our school district and township," Kieftenbeld said. "We are proud to put such a sizable event on, thanks to the tireless support of current and alumni parents, and many business sponsors.”
Assistant Drum Major Isabella Cedeno said the event helps “build our reputation and make marching band more public within our community.”
The following high school bands will compete in five different categories based on band size:
Group IIA: Colonia, Pequannock and Dover high schools
Group IIIA: Cranford, Linden, Nutley, Passaic Valley, South Plainfield, and Voorhees high schools
Group IVA: Mount Olive, Wayne Hills and Watchung Hills High Schools
Group VA: Verona High School
Group VIA: New Providence High School
Caption Awards will be presented for Best Overall Effect, Best Music, Best Visual, Best Percussion and Best Color Guard in each category.
Ridge band members said they are highly enthusiastic about hosting the competition. Section leader Alexandra Rice noted, "It’s a unique kind of entertainment that attracts members of the community who wouldn’t otherwise attend a marching band event. We’re hoping younger children will attend and be persuaded to join the band in the future.”
Color guard captain Gabby Stein added, “I enjoy being able to say 'Thank you for coming. Hope you enjoy our show.'"
Each band will be seeking to perfect its 2012 show as this competition will determine their seeding at the New Jersey State Championships the following weekend. Although host band Ridge will not compete for trophies, the band will be judged and the score will apply toward their seeding.
Good and snacks will be served in between performances by the Ridge High School Band Parents Association. Family, Friends and Neighbors of band students also can purchase “Air Grams” (broadcast announcements) and “Candy Grams” to show their support.