By Danny Schrafel
When it comes to marching bands, the Huntington High School Blue Devils are rocking in their 80th year.
Not only did the marching Blue Devils capture the New York State Field Band Conference championship and Governor’s Cup at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. Sunday, the major victory capped an undefeated season in marching band competition that included a half-dozen regional wins.
“This was a truly amazing season in every way,” said Jason Giachetti, who serves as the band’s co-director along with music faculty colleague Brian Stellato. “It was the perfect storm with a great band, a great staff and a great show.”
The dream season capped a four-year journey from middle of the pack to state champions. A second-place finish last fall whetted the appetites of the ever-improving band.
“This was an incredible journey for our seniors who traveled from last place, to fourth, third, second and now first,” Giachetti said. “They are the epitome of the tradition of excellence of which Huntington prides itself.”
In addition to the co-directors, Huntington’s marching band staff includes Noel Borden, Jessica Castaneda, Alex Prince, Frank Battista, Jessica Torres, Joan Borden, Dan DeOliveira, Michael Alfieri, Michael Marchena and Samantha LoBue.
The Blue Devils band, which dates back to 1934, captured the Large School Division 3 title with a score of 88.70, outpacing runners-up Horseheads High School by 2.3 points. Neighboring Walt Whitman High School, hardly a slouch in the marching-band department, to be sure, finished seventh in the division with 80.05.
“This is an outstanding finish to a perfect season for a wonderful group,” Huntington Superintendent James Polansky said. “It is incredibly well deserved. The band’s hard work, commitment and family-like approach are a true recipe for success and should serve as a model for all.”
Drum major Megan Boyce said she “couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group of people” in the band.
“They are all unbelievably hardworking, dedicated and are all simply phenomenal,” she said. “Even though this season ended with and undefeated record, the band never grew complacent with the level of achievement and always strived for greatness. They most definitely succeeded.
“This season has been truly incredible,” Kayla Eidle, also a drum major, added. “It was amazing to watch the band transform throughout the season and continue to raise its standard each week. The band threw it all down on the field at the dome and its hard work and perseverance really paid off.”
This year’s winning show, “Firebird,” was dedicated to the memory of Huntington School Board member Adam Spector, who died last year after a valiant battle with cancer, and Gene Bennett, a longtime supporter of the Blue Devil band.
After a Saturday morning rehearsal at Huntington High School, the Blue Devils hit the road for Syracuse. The band had a Sunday morning rehearsal at Liverpool High School before heading to the Carrier Dome to perform at 2:38 p.m.
Huntington’s 2014 drum majors are Megan Boyce, Connor MacDonald and Kayla Eidle. Kyle Hansen is the field major. Izzy Harman, Leah Butz and Jackie Bacik are the color guard captains. Justin Edgar-McNerney is the drum captain. Marina Siegel and Jack Blakley comprise the front ensemble leadership. Savannah Richardson serves as the woodwind captain.
Leading the flute section is Bailey Wiffen; Savanah Richardson and Kyle Hansen are the clarinet section leaders. Dylan DelGuidice is the alto sax section leader. Amy Schmelter is the brass captain. Bailey Riordan and Jason Moriera are the mellphone section leaders. Amy Schmelter and Nancy Fallon are the trumpet section leaders.