Brightly colored flags twirled as the sound of drums and xylophones boomed through the crisp fall air at Huntington High School Sunday.
It was the biennial Blue Devils Marching Band Competition at Huntington High School, with a dozen schools from across the island celebrating the power of music.
The journey to this year’s competition was not an easy one, though. Last year, Huntington High's band budget was cut so severely that the Blue Devils might not have gotten to play this year had it not been for the determination of the Huntington Marching Band Parents Association.
“Last year we had to fund-raise $28,000 to keep the marching band on the field,” said Martha Ironman, the co-president of the parents association. “Through all of our efforts we’re here because of that.”
Classmates, parents and grandparents cheered loudly from the bleachers as each team took their place on the field to perform.
“I think it’s a wonderful day to host a show and have all the bands together,” said Jason Giachetti, the co-director of the Blue Devils Marching Band. “Our band this year is an incredibly hard-working group of students.”
Shouts of “Go Malverne!” and “Go Copiague!” could be heard as the competition continued on through the afternoon. Each marching band dazzled the crowd with performances, which included tributes to Jimi Hendrix’ “Light my Fire” and the James Bond theme song. Members of the various color guards danced and twirled flags, swords and replica rifles as the bands performed.
The judges awarded the Brentwood High School “Green Machine” Marching Band first place in the large school division. Mineola High School’s marching band took top honors in the small school division.
“This is a great way to show the community the impact that an arts education has in a student’s life,” said Bill Grabowski, a Herricks School District teacher and father of two members of the Blue Devils Marching Band. “I think it’s a wonderful way for parents to link with the community and show the kids how much we support their efforts.”