The Sachem High School Marching Band has kicked off its 2012 season with a practice run of its drills at the Sachem East High School football field last week. The band will open with its first competition in mid-September at Brentwood High School.
Last year Sachem, which competes in the Large Schools Division 3, placed third in New York State at the championship tournament in Syracuse. Approximately 15 seniors in the band graduated last year, but according to Michael Carroll, the band's coordinator, membership is on the rise.
"We're approaching 100 members," Carroll said. "We had some graduating seniors, but the number is getting larger, so we have very high hopes. But the season is young; our first day is basically today."
Many of the leadership positions have changed, with the exception of Color Guards Jen Capria and Gabrielle Ziems. The new Drum Majors are Doug Weber and Melissa Weingartner, and the new Field Majors are Elijah Mueller, Collin Gallagher and Brittany Barry.
This year, Carroll said the team worked around a central theme of flying or the skies when conceptualizing its playlist.
"It’s a little different than years past when we picked a themed show," Carroll said. "This year it's a little bit from here or there. We basically picked three songs we love and we did a mash-up. It should be an excellent show."
Those songs include a piece from the soundtrack to "King Kong" and a piece called "Flying" from "The Journey of Man."
The band won the state championship in 2008, and hopes to get back to that spot when they reach Syracuse at the end of October. After the 2008 season, the band lost nearly 35 seniors to graduation, but have succeeded in earnest at recruiting new musicians.
"It’s working," said George Macchio, the band's director. "It’s the biggest the band’s been in seven years. We’ve kind of gotten into a routine of recruiting new kids, and the staff has been here for a while, so that makes things constant. So now every year we’re getting between 30 and 40 new kids, so it keeps things growing."
Carroll added that he hopes they can carry over the momentum of beating out all the Long Island bands during their third place season in Syracuse, but he said winning isn't the only goal.
"We want the kids to have a great experience," Carroll said. "To teach them that the only satisfaction they’ll get out of this program is to win is a little counterproductive. We’re really just trying to have the kids be excited about the product they’re putting on the field."