Manville’s Marching Band’s First Competition


Emely Batista

On Saturday, October 1, 2022, the Manville High School’s marching band battled through the rain and cold as they competed at J.P. Stevens High School for their first competition of the season. While the band struggled through harsh conditions, they still managed to overcome all obstacles to have a successful performance. After the performance, they waited to be called up to the field. The seniors marched with their heads held up high and waited in suspense as division A bands were called up. 3rd place… 2nd place…Then the announcer stated, “In group single A, winning first place, as well as best music award, as well as best effect award, with a score of 71.5…Manville High School!” The audience went wild. The band went wild. We all went wild! After long months of hard work and dedication, it paid off but the band’s work was not done yet. 

Amy Fields, Yaviver Alvarez, and Matthew Grywacz are three of the five graduating seniors this season and section leaders for the winds. Amy Fields stated, “I think we did better than we ever had at practices but I think we can improve a lot and there is way more to come in the season.” She believes the winds could improve sound and feeting balance. With the opportunity to present their show publicly in front of judges, there was a lot of nervousness but also a lot of mistakes. Although this was the case, she believes the band should be more positive especially since the majority of the band is new and they are still doing well. She states, “We could improve on just focusing on getting better, not goofing off and fooling around and just trying to have fun, because you have to be serious to succeed.” She extends this message to the whole band so they can only understand the enjoyment they get from performing because they are being serious and focusing on getting better.

Madison Ponce, the sophomore color guard section leader, shares her point of view on how she believes the band did on Saturday. She states that the band did really well for their first competition and that the guard should work on “timing and focusing more on body structure instead of the actual moves itself.” The band’s color guards are the storytellers. They are the ones entertaining and reeling people into their show entitled, “Breath of fire.” She believes that as a whole the band could improve on “communication and the synergy of the whole band.” With a whole new band comes a whole different environment. The band lost a big group of seniors from last year but has gotten a new bunch of rookies this year. With most rookies being in 7th or 8th grades, some intimidation can occur from the high school veterans, but with the long months and the long practices, everyone has grown closer to each other; they have grown more comfortable with one another.

Emely Batista, the senior Pit leader this year,  communicated they were finally happy to experience their first last Marching Band competition. Emely is joined by their sophomore sister, Elaeny Batista, in the pit. Emely was filled with excitement as they headed to JP Stevens to perform and they could not believe the band had placed first! It was something that they couldn’t believe to be experiencing once again! Emely stated, “I believe the band did amazing. With such little time as many would say, we had definitely accomplished a lot of work.” With two new people who had recently joined the pit with little to no music background, the pit has only gotten stronger. “One thing I believe we could work on is tempo and dynamics,” Emely states. “As a whole, the band can work on timing and make an understanding when to stop or move to the next part of the music. The pit is in the background so we could see many mistakes that the band makes and from back here, I could hear all of the pit’s mistakes with timing as well.” With not a lot of time to focus on individual music, the band focuses on the whole ensemble and how each part blends together, so once the students go home they have to focus on getting better and making their music better themselves. Students, along with the work of the staff, focus on how they want to showcase the music to the rest of the audience and judges.

The band’s top members have spoken and articulated their high expectations for their team. They will continue working towards the same goal of performing an amazing show. For the next couple of weeks, they plan to continue their hard work and dedication in their practices and performances.