Salesianum Band Marches into New Season

Salesianum Marching Band unveils and performs their 2018-2019 halftime show, “Dia de Los Muertos”


Keo Pangan ‘20, Contributor

Picture Baynard Stadium. More specifically, the football field. The football players run off the field, and a 20-minute halftime commences. A light rain begins to fall. This scene is the first home football game of the year, and the marching band is about to take the field. Jake Poppiti ‘20, with his booming voice from the press box, announces, “Drum majors, Michael Carr ‘19 and Nathan Acevedo ‘20, is your band rrrreeady?” Immediately following the command, the drum majors salute. Nate then goes up on the drum major stand, and Mike frantically puts on his baritone sax and runs to his first spot.  After a brief pause, Nate starts to conduct, and the 2018-2019 halftime show, “Dia de Los Muertos”, commences.

Band Camp 2018-2019

Since mid-August, the Salesianum marching band has been hard at work learning their new halftime show over the summer, with about six hours of work every day. Although that looks long and daunting, upperclassman members believe that it is one of their favorite and fun parts of marching band. Senior Drum Major Michael Carr ‘19 believes that he is able to have fun while working with the group all day and producing the full halftime show by the end of it. Likewise, Junior Drum Major Nathan Acevedo ‘20 commented that band camp was fun from the first time he stepped into the band room on the first day of band camp freshman year.

The new members also feel that band camp is productive, too. Freshman clarinetist Anthony Ryder ‘22, was “really impressed at how fast the group had gotten most of the show learned.” Overall, band camp is a great way for the band to learn their show before the busyness of schoolwork while also strengthening the friendship bonds between all of the participants.

The band travels downstate to Camp Arrowhead in Lewes to work on the show in the beauty of nature next to Rehoboth Bay. With the sea breeze blowing, they finished learning most of the new show. Being at Arrowhead allows for extra free time, and consequently, more bonding, according to Acevedo. Also, senior brass captain and trumpetist Luke Wilk ‘19, in remembering memories from Lewes a few weeks ago, told me in an interview that as he watched the band work this year, he came to the realization that, “although we can come off as  crazy and weird to those outside the band, we are a big family, with all of its quirks and idiosyncrasies.”

An Inside Look into “Dia de Los Muertos”

Unlike previous years, the Salesianum Marching Band’s halftime show is not a show based in popular music, but it still is an interesting and very meaningful show. Regarding this change, band director Mr. Brian Cox said,

“The 2018 show is an original piece of music in three parts that was written specifically for marching bands this year.  I chose this theme to celebrate Latin-American, and more specifically, Mexican culture. This year in particular, we have seen great injustice and the unfair spread of negative attitudes toward the immigrant community in America.  Even American citizens and legal immigrants have been subject to unimaginable treatment. In the spirit of Salesianum’s mission to promote social justice, I believe that we as musicians, performers, and artists can show our solidarity with the Latino community by performing a respectful tribute to one of Mexico’s most meaningful holidays.”

Support for this new show and this different approach has received unequivocal support from the band, especially the upperclassmen. Alto saxophonist Cameron Miller ‘20 remarked, “The past few years we’ve done pop-heavy shows, including songs like ‘Stressed Out’ by 21 Pilots and ‘Cake by the Ocean’ by DNCE, but this year, it’s a very different approach, but it definitely has potential to be just as crowd pleasing.” In addition, trumpetist Connor Nagle ‘20 commented that the music of this show is really good, and that his favorite parts are the trumpet section features. Wilk supports this as well, as he thinks that the show is very musical, very engaging, and very fun to watch and play. Acevedo took it from a different angle, as he sees this show as a cultural experience that makes it cool and exciting for the audience.

The First Performance

Continuing from the first paragraph, the marching band put their show out to an audience for the first time at the home football opener against Concord HS. The first game is always a rite of passage for all the band members, from freshmen to juniors and seniors.

Noah Acevedo ‘22, drummer, commented that he was somewhat nervous and that he would mess up, but afterwards felt very accomplished and proud of himself. Senior quad drummer Tyler “Frog” Godsey ‘19 echoed these feelings from freshman year, as he was also nervous and wondering, “what if something goes wrong?”

Freshman trombone player Adam Caraccia ‘22 said that he thought his first performance was not nerve-wracking but exciting. Carr echoed these words, as he also felt that his first show was thrilling and exciting, further pointing out that “as it was a nerve-wracking experience, it provided me with a rush of adrenaline as I stepped (or marched) on the field.”

Wilk told me about something that I didn’t think about: the growth of the marching band since the summer. Not the membership growth, unfortunately. He commented on the transformation of the band musically and visually between the summer and the first performance. The first day, we learn the basics of marching and some of the new music for the show, and by the end, the group builds on those basics and puts on a great performance.

I asked Mr. Cox about his reaction to the crowd’s reception of this show. He told me, “I was pleased that our great fans recognized the talent and enthusiasm of our performers, and gave us a wonderful reception.  I’m looking forward to putting the show on with all of the uniforms, props, and costumes. It will be a treat for the audience to see the band, the color guard, and the cheerleaders continue to get better throughout the season.”

If you have not seen the marching band’s 2018-2019 field show, “Dia de los Muertos”, come out and support your Salesian brothers in the marching band at a home football game! If you are a freshman, sophomore, or junior currently interested in joining the marching band, please email our band director Mr. Cox at [email protected].