By JEN CARDINES
No matter how you slice it, Southington High School has one of the best marching bands in the country.
“The season as a whole was a wonderful experience,” said band director Sara Ossias. “There were a lot of really successful moments.”
On Saturday, Nov. 12, the competitive season came to a close at the USBands Open National Championship at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The locals faced 62 of the nation’s top high school bands competing in six different categories. Groups traveled from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, and New York for the competition.
Division III champion King Philip Regional High School (97.438) in Massachusetts claimed the highest score in the nation, edging Blackstone-Millville High School (97.425) and Trumbull High School (97.1) atop the standings.
Southington placed 10th overall for their show, “The Rise of the Machine.” Other top 10 teams were Dartmouth (97.063), Quakertown (97.013), South Brunswick (96.875), Calvert Hall College High School (96.875), Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School (96.8), and Passaic High School (96.725).
The Knights saved their best for last, scoring their highest performance of the year at nationals (96.65).
“In this activity, you’ve got to plateau at the right time,” Ossias said. “We planned our season so we could do that. It tells us we’re doing something right because we got higher scores each week.”
Southington finished third overall in Division VI, behind Trumbull and South Brunswick. The Knights earned the “Best Visual” award in the division. “It helps that we have a fantastic staff that works with us,” said Ossias. A lot of people commit their time to working with the band and help students to achieve these goals.”
The Blue Knights faced new challenges in their new Division VI position, but Ossias said that the students worked hard from day one until the end. “We don’t see big bands until the end of the season, and competing against ourselves is very difficult.”
Nationals marked the end of Southington’s competitive season, but the Knights will have one more chance to perform. “The Rise of the Machine” will be the halftime show for the Thanksgiving Day football game against Cheshire.
The game is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 24 at 10 a.m. at Southington High School.
Looking ahead, the director predicts a bigger band next year due to the current large freshmen and small outgoing senior classes. “The ultimate goal is to get better and better. With a bigger group next year there will be more power behind the band.”
History of SHS Band
Laura Shaw is working on a history of the Blue Knight marching band. She is currently searching for pictures, recordings, trips, fundraiser flyers, and more.
The history from 1999 to the present is fairly complete, but there is a need for past information.
Contact Laura at Lbshaw1@cox.net.
NOTE: Here’s a video of the band at the national meet.