The Farmingdale marching band took center stage at the Newsday Marching Band Festival at Mitchel Field, NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reporrts. Credit: Gary Licker

Nearly a month after the deadly Farmingdale High School bus crash, the band that suffered the loss of its director, a beloved chaperone and injuries to several members will be taking center stage at the Newsday Marching Band Festival.

The band will be performing at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in Uniondale on Thursday, the last night of the three-evening festival that also includes more than 15 bands from across Long Island and dates back to 1963. The event starts at 7 p.m. 

This year's festival is designed to be a balance between celebrating marching bands and a remembrance of those lost in the Farmingdale High band bus crash, making for a poignant occasion for the tight-knit marching band community, planners said. 

“By their band playing, it’s a celebration of their life, not so much, you know, a remembrance of their tragic loss,” said Steve Morris, Newsday events project manager and the Newsday Marching Band Festival director.

Amy Schecher, a high school band director in Rocky Point schools and member of the festival's committee, said, "I think it will be an emotional night for everyone."

On Sept. 21, the band was headed toward a weekend band camp when one of its chartered buses crashed on Interstate 84 in Orange County and careened down a 50-foot ravine. Gina Pellettiere, the 43-year-old director of bands, and chaperone Beatrice Ferrari, 77, died. More than a dozen students were injured.

Along with the expected fanfare for the event that some bands call their “Super Bowl,” there's also a moment of silence, where lights are turned off in the stadium and people are asked to light up their phones. 

"That was really quite moving and beautiful last night to see the all the lights out and just these thousands of lights throughout the stadium in their in their honor," Schecher reflected. 

The remembrances will also include green ribbons handed out to attendees and a printed program that includes a tribute. 

Roughly 4,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which also gives the limelight to participating bands. There are no winners or losers, Morris said.

Tickets are available at Newsday.com/marchingbandtickets. Morris added that 50% of the ticket price goes back to the band programs that onlookers said they came to see. 

“It acts as a fundraiser for each of the bands,” he said. 

Nearly a month after the deadly Farmingdale High School bus crash, the band that suffered the loss of its director, a beloved chaperone and injuries to several members will be taking center stage at the Newsday Marching Band Festival.

The band will be performing at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex in Uniondale on Thursday, the last night of the three-evening festival that also includes more than 15 bands from across Long Island and dates back to 1963. The event starts at 7 p.m. 

This year's festival is designed to be a balance between celebrating marching bands and a remembrance of those lost in the Farmingdale High band bus crash, making for a poignant occasion for the tight-knit marching band community, planners said. 

“By their band playing, it’s a celebration of their life, not so much, you know, a remembrance of their tragic loss,” said Steve Morris, Newsday events project manager and the Newsday Marching Band Festival director.

Amy Schecher, a high school band director in Rocky Point schools and member of the festival's committee, said, "I think it will be an emotional night for everyone."

On Sept. 21, the band was headed toward a weekend band camp when one of its chartered buses crashed on Interstate 84 in Orange County and careened down a 50-foot ravine. Gina Pellettiere, the 43-year-old director of bands, and chaperone Beatrice Ferrari, 77, died. More than a dozen students were injured.

Along with the expected fanfare for the event that some bands call their “Super Bowl,” there's also a moment of silence, where lights are turned off in the stadium and people are asked to light up their phones. 

"That was really quite moving and beautiful last night to see the all the lights out and just these thousands of lights throughout the stadium in their in their honor," Schecher reflected. 

The remembrances will also include green ribbons handed out to attendees and a printed program that includes a tribute. 

Roughly 4,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which also gives the limelight to participating bands. There are no winners or losers, Morris said.

Tickets are available at Newsday.com/marchingbandtickets. Morris added that 50% of the ticket price goes back to the band programs that onlookers said they came to see. 

“It acts as a fundraiser for each of the bands,” he said. 

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