Banded together

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Milford. Connecticut, High School bands connect a community through volunteer service, lifelong friendships, and the love of a good song.

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Banded together

  1. 1. i:i+ t"+J! ,:Ea1jj!l. gltg:.jto$ fii,64ri ir*ri:.r- ri:E l.!:.!ji:;l i.:lr -r,jir.t:i:F- er TT**-*"* #* F#Kffiffi "!t ii !: 6 tr trn 1 E J#Xee{ffim.ffi "q ilffi-vf ffi1tr m htrffl#ffi3 €*,c d, ffiffix}.ffi.s tr#xexatrffi & r# ft1xn ia:aitq{ l sk anyone what makes a high school football By Karen Pasacreta game, and you just might be surprised by the answer. Its likely they wont say the sport itself,but all the pomp that celebrates the circumstance. Whats hangs together, Iaughs together, and dancesa half time for anyway? loud music, twirling, peppy together. As the energy heats up with popcheerleaders, a swirling color guard of flags and rifles band LMFAOs "Party Rock" anthem, so doall to get a rowdy crowd even more pumped up to route the kids. The horn section sways back andfor their team. Those football players work hard and forth in unison, a sea of red shirts dressed for the pep rally are shufflin, singing infectiousdeserve lots of credit, but even they feed off " da noize." lyrics, dancing, and having a good old time. Jessica Shearer is all about it, though as "I like the energy," beams Shearer. "It was!orans band director she prefers her noise on almost a miracle." But not quite, as shepitch without ruling out "da fun." "Channel continues to give directions, asking for crisperyour inner goofiness!" she yeils to her band endings until they nail it and get ready tokids as they practice minutes before their "shufJle in" to the gym for the pep rally. Afterseasons first pep rally. After an enthusiastic all, perfectionism does have a place in therenditi.on of the r98os favorite "Safety "pep:Dance," Shearer cant help but get swept up."Perfectl" She sings back. "Im feeling a lot of f; Strive and Thrivelove for you right now." 3 It *rrnt always this way for Shearer. 6 The band has a motto hanging on a felt I B.li.n. it or not there was a time shebanner in the music room: "One band. F neeaea to recruit kids to play in the band. lOne side. One love." Its a band family that 3 "Its definitely been an evolution," she18 Milford Living . Autumn
  2. 2. The Law Band marches out for iperformance. - . -i . -,:,rord Lir.ing 1
  3. 3. il o z z o o F l oadmits. Shearer started at Foran in zoo4 music, hearing that sweet, sweet note The Foran Band performs in Washington D.C.,rlth only twenty-nine kids. "That first year after mentoring a kid for months to get at the WIVII memorial.scme kids didnt even know how to play an there-and the overwhelming sense of a community partnership comprised of=strument and I worked with them." Nine different because each members interestsrears later, she has grown the program to students, teachers, administrators, and are different. You cater to what you have,sixty-nine kids. Its because band leaders of course, parents. Shearer is actually a he says. A tall, jovial guy whose life is sogrve up countless hours to make their second generation band director. She grew completely woven into Milfords fabric,programs successful. They hold workshops, up in Massachusetts watching her father he knows everyone and knows what itteach kids how to play instruments theyve direct the East Longmeadow High School takes to make his band successful Lawnever heard of, and offer up weeknights band. Its in her blood. mostly focuses on the marching aspectand weekends to get it right. while Forans attention is placed primarily Foran High School principal John Barile A Community Thing on the concert level. Both offer jazz andis quick to point out Shearers dedication. Paul Marino grew up in the Milford concert. And though they may be differentShe can often be found long after the community. He went to Jonathan Law, in style-the two face similar challengesschool day or on weekends, working taught at Law, and has been the band with the ebb and flow of program changes.with students and parents or on her director at Law since r988. Hes seen so "My goal year after to year is to justown preparing for upcoming Iessons many structural changes through the present a balanced program," says Marino.or performances." This is really no big years, from a large jazzhorn ensemble to -I started with sixteen kids. Now there aredeal to band leaders. Its the love ofthe a huge percussion section. Each year is about fifty." There were more, up to ro8, he sa15. 5.,, kids have harder demands now. i: :akes a lot to be a superkid who can do Kids who make up band... every*J-dng. "Somethings got to give." . Participate in sports, clubs, volunteer Have atremendous sense of school spirit work, all in addition to band a Oft en organize band-related activities Unraivering , Are disciplined, passionate, and hard- outside of school (this year Foran it takes a huge level of commitment to working participated in Relay for Life: law Tendto do well in school organized a coat drive for Hurricane cc band, without a doubt. Some of these & Have a sense of pride and camaraderie Sandy victims) irjds are playing sports too, or have a heavy :-omework load, and all add community20 Mllford Living . lIinter
  4. 4. ::rvice to the mix. Plus, theres bottle practice? "We just accommodate schedules Musical Arts Conference (MAC) in a 7-8 week:rives, candy drives, selling cookie dough, so each kid who wants to be in the band performance schedule, delivering ro-minuterolunteer nights at Ritas and Red Robin can," says Marino. shows. Fact: it is widely considered one of::staurants-all fundraisers that pay f.or Those that do, reap the rewards. Laws the best marching bands in the state. Ioranssome expenses so each band is able to Marching Band travels all over the tri-state band has its own set of esteemed recogni-:cmpete and grow musically, in state and area to compete and has won many juried tions. It was asked to play at the World War:::t. With all this going on, its only natural competitions. Together with the Color II Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Rock:c ask-where do they find the time to Guard, the group performs through the n Roll Hall of Fame, Walt Disney World :.-: Living 2./
  5. 5. in Orlando, and Connecticut quined gauntlets with whiteGovernors Mansion. Its these gloves," she says. And thenhonors that make a school and there was that white plasticcommunity proud-and all the hat with red-sequined trim...hard work worth the trouble. "What teen wants to wearBand is an actual class in both plastic cowboy hats?" saidschools, and both offer march- Shearer. Strive and thrive islng, concert, and jazzband, the schools motto, so thingscatering to the instruments the changed, but only modestly.klds know how to play. Red and blue are the school "Band is a thing I am really colors. The pants stayed.:roud to be a part of," says The red sequined hat brim-arly Burriesci, band president didnt.a:.d senior at Foran. "I love the Since Jonathan Law has:-nily environment. You can been around for fifty years,:: stressed in high school and its seen a uniform evolution,,-::en you come to band you that went from skirts for the,c:,cw that people here care ladies to pants and a morea: cut you." There is no hier- modernized militaristic feel=::hy, no bossing each other of the school colors gold-rund. Theres just a genuine and black. Since a marching: asslon for music. Its like the band historically evolved:a:rily whose house youd visit from armies, it ceremoniallyard never want to leave they borrows the look and uses-,,,-ere that awesome. the same commands during Burriesci is a self-taught shows: "Attention!" "Forward:rombone player who just marchl" Last years show wasalways wanted tobe in a jazz a reference to Stonehenge;group, so she "picked it up." this years Dantes Inferno,J azz b and instruments include a three-part heaven, hell,trombone, saxophone, trum- pur8atory theme. Hell hath fpet, double bass, and clarinet, E no furv...than the effects of mher principal instrument. 3 drums with big booming Burriesci says the skills she i crescendos. Think loudhas acquired through band are h percussion rounded out with U.ones she will use her entire ! the subtlety oftriangles andlife. In a lot of ways, band is u symbols. "The bigger thea diverse group with a wide Law Band Championship photos throughout the years effect on people, the morevariety of interests across spec- powerful the show," saystrum. These are students who embrace op- fooking Good Raci-e- Gomes, junior section leader, drums.portunity and work hard. There is a sense A band that works well together looks Br.l:s meant to entertain, which -:,a:-<of pride and commitment to each school good together, and that means a uniforrr- -:a:.s to the pomp and circumstance.and most of all, to themselves. "Band kids And they arent always pretty. Iike lther -: s ab:ut entertaining the crowd," saysare just good kids," said Marino. "Kids with Shearer first got to Foran, bolero bloi.Lses Si:-::. .So everyone can have fun." And,great integrity, whether they come here were all the rage. "They whore white a:-: --: ::-::,.e. that means having a good oldwith it or learn from it here," adds Shearer. navy pants with a white stripe and rei s: -:.: ::-ebrating the music.@22 Milford Living . Winter

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