The Ridge High School Marching Band won second place overall in the Hillsborough High School competition held last Saturday, and also received the caption award for best music performance at the same event.
So far this season, Ridge also has won first place at the Hunterdon Central Regional High competition and won second place at the Yamaha Cup U.S. Bands competition.
Dan Zugale, director of the Ridge Marching Band, and the coaching staff have jointed choreographed a competition show for this year featuring "Across the Universe," by The Beatles, "I am the Doctor," from Dr. Who, "Jupiter from the Planets," by Gustav Holst, "Written in the Stars," by Tinie Tempah, and the theme music from Star Trek.
“In designing our show this year we've taken music from a variety of sources in order to communicate the overall idea of Across the Universe,” Zugale said. “We also tied the music with visual elements through color guard uniforms and the display of planets that are on the field.”
The band coaching team also includes: assistant band director Joe Kirk, percussion captain head Joe Keefe, color guard captain head George Mattis, color guard instructor Kasey Zampella, music arranger Dennis Argul, program coordinator Minesh Shah and drill designer Carl Boos.
Marching band is a great way for students to apply musical skills learned in other school programs in a new venue, according to the band's publicity director, Roger Gurnani. The band and color guard also provide a social atmosphere in which the students learn the skills necessary for working as part of a team, to develop great friendships and long lasting memories traveling to performances.
Student Leaders have played a key role in the band’s success, including drum major Isabella Cedeno, who has led the marching band throughout the competition season. She takes command of the band from the podium and keeps the rhythm and beat for each performance. She has been playing musical instruments and participating in school programs since the 4th grade.
“Marching Band has forced me to mature since so many people rely on me now,” said Cedeno. “I have no margin for errors and it has taught me to step up to new challenges.”
Marching band, with the Color Guard, teaches students to visually represent the music and add another dimension of entertainment to their show. The movement and spinning of colorful flags along with a mix of contemporary modern dances have become an integral part of their competitive performance.
Color Guard Captain Sarah Campbell said she was motivated to join following her older sister's participation in the color guard when she went to high school. “My favorite part is performing at the competitions,” she said. “As a student leader I try to be a friend to the other band members and cheer them to perform their best.”
The Ridge Marching Band's competition season moves ahead to the New Jersey State Championships on Oct. 19 at Rutgers High Point Stadium and in U.S. Bands National Championships on Nov. 2 at MetLife Stadium.
Ridge will host its own 4th annual competition on October 26 at Lee Field at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge. The competition is a U.S.-bands sanctioned “Gold Star” show with performances by seven of New Jersey’s top high school marching bands. It promises to be a fun-filled family oriented afternoon that everyone can enjoy.
Additional information about the band can be obtained from the band’s website: www.RidgeMarchingBand.com.