Photos courtesy Band Director Samantha Hitchell.
This year, the Bayonne High School Marching Band drew high marks at both the state and national levels for its performance of “Don’t Stop Me Now,” which included renditions of Queen’s greatest hits, reworked to suit a 52-member ensemble.
The band joined several others from across New Jersey to face off in the rough weather on Oct. 30 at a USBands Championship held in Hillsborough. They secured a 2nd place performance within a statewide division for a consecutive year, along with the accolades of Best Color Guard and Best Percussion.
Just a few days later, the band had another resounding success with a 4th place at the USBands National Championship held on Nov. 2 at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Pa.
The pool of talent that competed there included ten other bands hailing from Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
The judges awarded the BHS Marching Band’s performance at the national competition a score of 91.305, the highest score that the band received since the season began at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
At each competition, a panel of USBands judges determine the strength of each performance based on a combination of the best musical performance, but having a confident presence and fine-tuned choreography can prove to be equally if not more important to win in the categories of visual effect and overall effect.
Nailing performances in a weekly lineup of events and competitions that begin in September requires a huge commitment of time, energy, and focus for each band member, amid all of the usual schedules and trials faced by all high school students.
This year’s ensemble carried on the unprecedented success that the BHS Marching Band has seen in recent years. The band was led by Drum Major Julia Gordon, along with section leaders Carl Basil Blasa, Alejandra Figueroa, Maggie Caley, Joaquin Munyan, Gabriella Megale, Oscar Javier, and Alanis Cruz.
“The USBands competitions are a great way to celebrate our students, showcase their talents, and teach valuable lessons about teamwork and sportsmanship,” Band Director Samantha Hitchell said. “This would not have been possible without the dedication of our incredible staff.”
Hitchell gave special thanks to the team that made it all possible for this year’s ensemble, which included show coordinator George Lavelle, visual instructor Michael Fatorous, color guard instructor Robert Cuevas, assistant color guard instructor Kevin Herrera, wind instructor Alyssa Rodriguez, percussion instructor Giancarlo Megale, nad assistant percussion instructor Jacob Rodriguez.