Silver Eagles Marching Band rises to the occasion

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The Egg Harbor Township drum line and front ensemble outside Hershey Stadium. Pictured standing from left are John Wickham, Sky Notaro, Jesse Campanell, Zack Elmer, Captain Van Roa, Captain Brianna Morris, Kathleen Ballard, Chaperone Sue Elmer, David Zhang, Honson Tran, Tony Wong, Josh Besas, Blair Hendricks and Alia Rabia. In front are Alyssa Barr, Russell Coombs.
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Egg Harbor Township High School’s Silver Eagles Marching Band ended its season ranked No. 1 in its division, with a program that suited the challenges it faced this year.

Band Director Domenic Scalfaro initially selected the theme of “Rise Above” over the summer to represent the turmoil and construction that the students had to manage over several school years. But he said the true meaning of the theme was reinforced throughout the band’s competitive season.

He said the program aimed to represent that “throughout everything dealt to us in life, the obstacles in our paths, the ups and downs, we should strive to show compassion towards others, stay the course and rise above those obstacles.”

The show featured the songs “Night Watch,” “Passion” and “Renewed Sprits.”

“It really ended up setting the tone for our whole season,” Scalfaro said.

First, Hurricane Irene canceled the band’s planned trip to a weeklong camp in Pennsylvania in July when the power at the camp location took a week to be restored.

“It rained every week and we were washed out of practice at least one day each week,” he said.

Then, when the 55 members were traveling up to the championship in Hershey, Pa., two weeks ago, their bus got stuck behind a truck fire that closed the highway down for two hours, causing them to miss rehearsal time.

Despite the setbacks, the Silver Eagles finished ranked in the top spot for New Jersey in the American Open Division of the Cavalcade of Bands, a regional nonprofit organization of member schools that compete against one another during weekly competitions.

Each week the band accumulated scores that qualified them for the championships, held in Hershey Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 13. While the Silver Eagles placed sixth out of 23 bands, they were the top-ranked school from New Jersey, beating out Oakcrest, Vineland, Delsea Regional and Brick Township high school bands.

“There isn’t a state title, but our scores were the highest for bands from New Jersey in our division,” he said.

The rehearsals to perfect the program were “intensive” as was the season’s schedule, Scalfaro said. Besides weekly practices that began in July, the band performed at varsity football games every Friday night. Then they returned to the school for practice on Saturday afternoons, a group dinner and then travel to weekly competitions.

After experiencing a reduction in membership throughout the past few years, Scalfaro said he moved the band into the Cavalcade of Bands, a competition circuit for smaller groups.

“They are new to the South Jersey area, but a lot of (other local bands) have changed,” he said. “They have a good judging panel and fair judges.”

He said the smaller membership may have contributed to the band’s ability to get along, despite the setbacks.

“They seemed to hold it together pretty good,” he said. “Some of the other band directors I talked with said their members were starting to get on each other’s nerves, but ours did pretty well from what I saw.”
Members of Egg Harbor Township High School Silver Eagles Marching Band wrapped up their season in first place in their division. Pictured in the front row from left are Josh Besas, Jesse Campanell and Brianna Morris. In the background are Tony Wong and Russell Coombs.   The color guard performed each week alongside the musicians. Members included Jessie Simon, Megan Yaffee, Emily Sullivan, Emily Simon, Paige Sacco, Rhainnon White, Julia Hendricks, Catherine Brown, Rosie Eberwine, Katrina Tozer and Brittany Gross.

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