The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School


LHS Performs at 59th Newsday Marching Band Festival

The LHS band marches onto Mitchel Field at the Newsday festival. Courtesy of Danielle Longo

The 59th annual Newsday Marching Band Festival hosted over 30 high school marching bands across Long Island, including LHS. The festival took place at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex over three nights, October 17, 18, and 19. LHS attended on the last night.

The marching band, color guard, and kick line arrived at LHS in uniform at 5 p.m. for a pizza dinner provided by the Parents and Friends of Lynbrook Music. After dinner and a run-through of the show, the group boarded three buses and rode to Mitchel Field.

LHS was scheduled as the eighth band of the night. Its performance featured music by the Dave Matthews Band entitled “Ants Marching,” also the name of the first piece in its set; the Lynbrook owl mascot even sported two antennae and a shirt referencing the song. As the announcer introduced LHS, the band marched forward onto the field in rhythm to the drum’s cadence. During the first piece, “Ants Marching,” the symphonic band and wind ensemble each formed a separate moving rectangle. For the second tune, “Two Step,” the whole band moved backwards to make room for the kick line, whose dance routine was then featured as the band played. The third and final song was “Grey Street,” in which the symphonic band formed the letters L, H, and S consecutively while the wind ensemble simultaneously marched in four moving pinwheels.

After completing their show, the band students returned to their designated area in the bleachers, where they were congratulated by Lynbrook Superintendent Dr. Paul Lynch, Director of Fine and Performing Arts Adrianna Schaefer, Principal Matthew Sarosy, and former LHS orchestra director Alyssa White. Alyssa White is currently the director of fine and performing arts in the Bethpage School District, whose marching band had performed earlier that night. Her former LHS students were very glad to see her and enjoyed catching up. From the stands, the marching band could watch the remaining shows.

The symphonic band marches in a rectangular formation.
Courtesy of Danielle Longo

Among the final performances of the night was Farmingdale High School’s marching band with a show entitled “Kings and Queens.” Considering the tragedy that Farmingdale had recently experienced on the way to a marching band camp, the school received extra applause and cheers of “Let’s go, Dalers!” from the audience and the other bands. Many spectators sported green ribbons, which had been distributed upon arrival, to show support for Farmingdale. The festival’s program included a tribute to Farmingdale’s band director, Gina R. Pellettiere, and a retired chaperone, Beatrice Ferrari, who both passed away in the accident. Pellettiere was listed in the program as the band director of Farmingdale High School with a green ribbon next to her name.

Senior and percussion section leader Jake Schettini commented, “I had a great experience at [the] Newsday [festival] this year. I thought that all of our hard work really paid off. I was also very proud of the other percussionists and the hard work that they put in. I really enjoyed watching the other schools as well, especially Farmingdale.”

After every band had performed, they all gathered onto the field once again for certain bands to play “America, the Beautiful” together, a tradition of the festival. Representatives from each school were then called up to the front of the field to receive their trophy and take a picture. LHS’s new trophy will be added to the collection of others in the music hallway display case.

LHS band director Brian White said, “I thought we did amazing. It was [an] extremely tight performance, and it sounded wonderful, it looked wonderful, and I’m extremely proud.”

Schaefer expressed, “It is such an uplifting experience, sitting in a crowd of people, all there to cheer on the marching bands that participate in this great event. This event truly creates a feeling of unity [not only] within our own band, but across the many districts that perform as well.” She continued, “We are always proud of the LHS marching band performances and look forward to many more in the years to come!”

During the weeks leading up to the festival, the LHS marching band had five evening rehearsals, along with daily practice during class and one all-day clinic during school. The clinic was a new experience for everyone, including White. It consisted of two separate workshops, which the symphonic band and wind ensemble alternated between; one group worked on memorizing the music while the other learned formations in the small gym. (The latter workshop was planned to be outdoors, but due to inclement weather, White and the band improvised.) Reflecting on the clinic, White said, “Yeah, that was unbelievable. We never got to do that before, and it made a humongous difference, just to have that time early on in the season to get all that preparation […]. The entire rest of the season has felt different to me because of that; it’s felt like we were way ahead of where we’ve ever been before, so it was awesome.”

Fans and spectators support Farmingdale as it performs as one of the last and largest bands at the festival.
Courtesy of Danielle Longo

The band also received help from several other musicians and teachers in its preparations for the performance. During the clinic, North Middle School band director Zachary Rifkind helped the student musicians with memorization, and professional drummer Steven Blutman worked closely with the percussion section. Alyssa Smith, an elementary school music teacher in Hicksville, instructed the LHS color guard, and Michelle Cozzi, another professional drummer, worked with the percussion section during the evening rehearsals. Smith and Cozzi also attended the Newsday festival, and Cozzi videoed LHS’s show from the spectator stands.

The day after the festival, professional photographs of each band were posted on Newsday’s website. In band class, White played the video Cozzi had taken so that the students could view their performance. He said it was “virtually flawless.” He also explained to the students a new feature of this year’s festival: the footage of each performance will be made into a professionally edited video. White and the students look forward to receiving this film in the coming weeks.


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About the Contributor
Madeleine Malinka, Online Editor-in-Chief
I am a member of the class of 2024 and a co-editor-in-chief of Horizon's online publication. I have one dog and eleven siblings, and I love to read!