The Weehawken High School Marching Band had a double-barreled October, winning first place at the USBands Yamaha Cup Competition at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Oct. 5, then capping the month in grand style by defending its USBands New Jersey State Championship for Group 1A at Rutgers University in New Brunswick on Oct. 20.
But there is no rest for the band members yet. On Sunday, Nov. 3 they will host 10 schools from around the state at their fifth Annual Weehawken High School Band Festival at Louis A. Ferullo Stadium, Park Avenue, at 1 p.m. The day will be topped off with a performance by the award-winning Indian squad. Tickets are available for an entrance donation of $5 each (children ages 5 and younger enter free). Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the event.
The band will then compete in the 2013 National Championship competition on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Allentown, Pa.
State champs – again
In the state championship on Oct. 20, Weehawken High School competed against 13 other bands from around New Jersey to retain their title.
“This level of success did not come easily. The students and staff have been working extremely hard this year,” said Band Director Michael Lichtenfeld. “Beginning with band camp in August, and continuing with multiple rehearsals each week throughout the entire season, the students balance the demanding extra-curricular activity with their academic studies.”
“This level of success did not come easily.”– Michael Lichtenfeld
"We're very proud of the hard work, dedication, and commitment of our students, and they should be very proud of themselves as well,” Lichtenfeld said. “They have worked very hard, and being number one in the state is a tremendous accomplishment."
Yamaha Cup victors
The state title victory came on the heels of the band’s achievement on Oct. 5, when they won first place at MetLife in the USBands Yamaha Cup Competition. This was Weehawken’s third consecutive first place win in their Group 1A division at the regional competition, which featured bands from all over New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
The band is also instructed by Assistant Band Director Tim Galan, Color Guard Coach Michele McCormick, Drill/Visual Designer George LaVelle Jr., Percussion Instructor Thomas Mulvaney, Marching Instructor Michael Fatouros, Color Guard Instructor Karen Garcia, and Melodic Percussion Instructor Kaitlyn Turner. The staff worked hard to challenge the students with a show titled “Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba.”
Always striving for success
The 40 students who make up Weehawken’s Marching Band are always hungry for a win, according to Lichtenfeld.
To date, Weehawken’s cumulative scores from all competitions rank them first in the nation in the USBands Group 1A division.
“Being number one in the nation is a tremendous accomplishment,” Lichtenfeld said.
Come Nov. 9, the band will be tested once again.
District and town support
Since its inception, the Marching Band has been supported by Assistant Superintendent and Weehawken High School Principal Dr. Peter Olivieri, WHS Assistant Principal Steven Spinosa, Weehawken Superintendent Kevin McLellan, Richard Barsa and the Weehawken Board of Education, Mayor Richard Turner and the Township Council, and the community as a whole, according to Lichtenfeld.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.