Knights march to Nationals

Kayleigh Leon, Ryan Frudden, and Anthony Silverstri focus as they play vibraphones in unison.


            From the moment Marching Band season initiated, the Marching Knights overwhelmed their competitors, winning first place in numerous competitions and earning the opportunity to compete in Nationals at MetLife Stadium.

            Senior Yusef Shehat revealed, We had an outstanding season, achieving first place in multiple local circuit competitions as well as receiving many caption awards for best percussion, music, and visual.” The first place finishes included local wins at JP Stevens, Woodbridge, and Monroe.

            Faculty Band Director Melissa Thatcher is exceedingly proud of the band’s growth and success, both as individuals and as a team. “It has been great to see all the students’ hard work pay off and put their passion into every performance.”  

Sophomore Stephen Franzese plays the baritone, a brass instrument used to play lower notes.

            Their success results from their industry, dedication, and teamwork. Senior Zachary Mondano expressed, “When everyone puts in the same or more effort than the person next to them, the show immediately sounds and looks better.” 

            Thatcher loves to see the members of the Marching Band come together to perform their routine. “They work together to portray our story line, which is about building a turbine, how it creates energy, and then lights up a city.”  

            Without effective teamwork, the squad would not have earned the NJMBDA Class AA State Championship or placed fifth in Nationals. Lauren Sternad, a senior, disclosed, “The people around me motivate me to succeed the most. Everyone working towards a common goal is super important and inspiring for success”.  

Braeden Appleton, Sara Brennan, and Reed Nocera play their snare drums as Aaron Hernandez and Matteo Szeto pass behind them playing their bass drums.

            Their success and accolades are well deserved. Shehat also shared “Our success in competition is most definitely a reflection of our diligent work ethics, the high quality of instruction we receive from the staff and encouraging peer environment.” 

            Students in the band continually work to improve. “I had been practicing every single day to try and perfect my drumming skills,” Sara Brennan noted. “I still have a way to go, but listening and watching others perform motivates me to always try my best.”  

            While success is rewarding, enjoying the moment and each opportunity is crucial. “Another important thing is simply to remember that you’re there to have fun, and harness that into something good,” Mondano explained.  

Freshman Isaac Choi plays the saxophone during a performance by marching band.

            The performers believe that the experience and the comradery make the time and effort worthwhile, even more than the victories. “At the end of the day, the trophy and placement doesn’t matter. I personally think the journey, how much we’ve grown, and the great memories that were made is what matters the most,” Brennan explained. “I consider everyone from band as my family. Without this relationship, we wouldn’t be as great as we are.” 

Posted on 11/29/22

Photos by Lors Photography

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