The Slater

MARCHING TO THE BEAT OF KING KONG

GG Murgia, Editor

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Whether it’s performing their exquisite halftime show at football games or making their way down the streets of Bangor during parades, the Bangor High School Marching Band always impresses the Slater community. Under the direction of Mr. Hahn, the band’s show for this year is the exciting King Kong.

King Kong sparked Mr. Hahn’s interest because of the theme and musicality of the show; it focuses on the idea of accepting others for who they are, which is very prevalent in this day and age.

“The middle song of King Kong was actually the first one I heard,” Mr. Hahn said. “It is called ‘Beautiful’ and it lives up to its name. I learned that it was from a full show of music from the movie King Kong and when I listened to it, I found that it was perfect for the band!”

With such a demanding show, Mr. Hahn felt the need to have two drum majors this year instead of one. At the end of last school year, Mr. Hahn, along with the other band instructors, had to make the difficult decision of who was going to lead the band in the 2018-2019 season.

“Our drill formations have become increasingly large over the past few years. Many players are having to travel all the way out to the ends of the field where it becomes difficult to see a solitary drum major at the 50-yard line,” Mr. Hahn said. “So, we decided to go through the difficult task of choosing two students this year in order to make a secondary conductor possible and allow for those spread formations.”

After this tough process, seniors Erika Neetz and Gabriel Pilozo rose to the top and became the perfect choice for BHS’s drum majors. The pair’s commitment to the program has resulted in a positive impact on this year’s performance.

“Having two drum majors enables us to use more of the field because one of us is always on the sideline conducting,” Neetz said. “The best part about having two drum majors is being able to work with someone who has the same drive and passion of music as I do. This collaboration enables Gabe and I to help each other and come up with some awesome ideas.”

Even with extra hands, the performance still yields many challenges the band has worked on strenuously to overcome.

“The most challenging part about this year’s show is putting the music with the drill. This is hard because both the drill and the music are challenging in their own way,” Neetz said. “The music provides us with technical challenges, while the drill provides us with physical challenges on the field. Putting them together and executing it to perfection isn’t always easy.”

Without a doubt, the band would not be at the performance level they are at today if it were not for the weeks spent leading up to the school year. The infamous “band camp” put members in tip-top shape in preparation for their first performance of the season.

“I think that band camp helped in multiple ways,” Pilozo said. “One way was that practicing helped everyone memorize the music and the drill spots and personally, it helped me build muscles and arm endurance for conducting the field show. Additionally, band camp helped us build friendships and made us feel like a family.”

In addition to halftime performances, the marching band schedule is jam-packed with rehearsals, parades, and competitions. At each event, members perform to the best of their ability and wow the crowd with their raw talent.

Their first competition took place on September 22 and the band was pleased with the results. In the Group V A Division, Bangor ranked second with a solid score of 77.600.

“I felt that we performed well for our first competition,” Mr. Hahn said. “I expect that we will improve every week and score at least in the high 80s by the end of the season. I would be absolutely ecstatic if we broke into the 90s!”

That was just one of many competitions for the marching band, with bigger performances quickly approaching.

“Our biggest competition is the US Bands Class A National Championships at J. Birney Crum Stadium,” Neetz said. “This is our last competition of the season and I have no doubt that we will do absolutely amazing as we always do.”

If you have yet to see the marching band perform, no need to fret because they will be performing at this week’s home football game against Wilson.

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