The marching band is a rapidly growing and improving group. In just its third year back at MHS, the band will take the field with greater involvement, more student leadership and a more ambitions on-field program.
The marching band, which performs the pre-game entry, National Anthem and a choreographed halftime program at home football games, was rebooted in 2010 after a hiatus that began the mid-1980s.
This year, the 40 students in the band and color guard, are planning a six-minute “Pirates of the Caribbean” themed show, which is longer and more complex than ever before.
“We really kicked it up a couple notches this year,” said Grace Marinilli, a co-chair of Milton’s Friends and Advocates of Music Education (FAME) who has volunteered to work with the color guard this season.
Before school started, the Director Rebecca Damiani led a five-day band camp where the students learned steps for the show and honed the music they received last spring.
The show will be grander than in the past and student leaders have a lot to do with it.
“It’s a whole new feeling and a whole new sense of pride,” said drum major Joseph Marinilli.
Seniors Peter Mulkern and Joseph Marinilli will serve as drum majors. For the first time, the drum majors will be conducting the band. Marinilli and Mulkern each lead half of the performance, joining the band while not conducting.
“You have to prepare just as much flapping your hands,” said Joseph Marinilli of this additional responsibility.
Mulkern and Marinilli, are joined in key leadership roles by color guard co-captains Alex Barber and Gabby Bongiorno and percussion co-captains Phil Wikina and David Cleckley.
The band has seen many changes since it started three years ago.
“People originally had no idea what marching band was,” said Joseph Marinilli, who added most students thought of marching in parades rather than the field show.
The band and color guard have grown considerably year-to-year as more students saw what the program was like. The marching band is also the only music program open to all students.
“Every student can be involved in marching band,” Damiani said.
That is true for three-year color guard member and senior co-captain Alex Barber. Barber was involved in dance team, musicals, singing groups and chorus, when Damiani presented the chance to join the color guard.
“I love it,” Barber said of the evolving color guard.
The enthusiastic group will perform at each home football game this season, with practices scheduled throughout the season.
“We have to keep refining,” said Mulkern.
The refining will lead the program to Damiani’s eventual goal of participating in marching band competitions.
The marching band will make its 2012 debut at the Milton High School Wildcats home opener against Newton North at 7 p.m., Friday, September 14.