By JEN CARDINES
The award-winning Southington Blue Knights Marching Band completed their annual band camp last week to kick-start the 2017 season.
Blue Knights, band backers, and faculty are busy preparing for the premiere of this year’s show, titled “When One Door Opens…” which will be officially previewed on Sept. 8.
During band camp, students rehearsed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and again from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the weeks of Aug. 14 to 18 and Aug. 21 to 25. An open rehearsal for parents took place Wednesday night, Aug. 23, but local fans will have to wait just a bit longer until the show unveils on Sept. 8 on the Southington High School turf field.
“Our show is an original composition by Kevin Shah and brings us through several phases of exploring what is beyond the door,” SHS band director Sara Ossias said. It has three movements: Threshold, Transformation, and Beyond the Door.
Last year, the band moved up to Class VI, which is the largest division in high school marching bands, but the bigger competition never slowed them down. Their 2016 season concluded at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, where they were named 10th in the nation and third in the Class VI division.
This year, the 148-member band hopes to continue their success with “When One Door Opens…” Drum Majors Maddie Chasse, Mike McLaughlin, and Keegan Smith will lead their peers during performances this season and Rachel Roberts and Torri Sperry will serve as Color Guard captains.
“We have a really exciting season in store this year and are very excited to get this show ready,” Ossias said. “Our students have been working extremely hard through the first week of camp, and came back ready for week two.”
Blue Knights begin their competitive season on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Maloney High School in Meriden and hope to win a spot at Nationals, which is held at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. The time in between the season’s open and close will be filled with weekend competitions, along with Southington’s highlighted event “Music of the Knight.” Each year, Southington High School hosts a competition on the football field where teams from across the state participate. Band backers spend weeks preparing the event so that everything goes off without a hitch and this year is no different. Marching band families are already making plans for the 2017 MOTK, which will be on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The annual competition serves as the biggest fundraiser for the band’s budget, which usually runs six figures. Costs accumulate throughout the season with uniforms, trucks to transport the equipment to competitions, travel expenses, and more. Alongside ticket and concession sales, one of the biggest sources of income at the competition is the program guide, which contains roughly 200 pages of ads, pictures, a page for each competing band’s program, a complete roster for the day’s events, and USBands information.
For more information about the SHS marching band and a complete competition schedule, visit www.shsbands.com.
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