All We Need Is Love: LHS Performs at the Newsday Marching Band Festival

Newsday held its 58th annual Marching Band Festival from October 18-20, returning after two years of cancellations due to Covid-19. LHS’s marching band, color guard, and kick line took their half-time show to the event at Mitchel Field Athletic Complex and performed along with almost 50 other bands. The performances were spread out over three nights with Lynbrook playing on the last night of the event.

Band teacher Brian White has been bringing the marching band to Newsday’s festival for many years, so members usually become acquainted with it in their freshman year and continue through to their senior year. However, because of the hiatus, members of the class of 2023, this year’s seniors, were the only ones who had ever before been to festival. Senior and percussionist Candyce Pacheco expressed, “The Newsday Marching Band Festival was really fun, but in all honesty, I’ve forgotten what it’s like going to large school events because of Covid. I enjoyed playing music with the band…” 

Two hours before the festival began, the marching band, kick line, and color guard met at LHS in their uniforms, carrying with them coats, sweatshirts, and blankets in anticipation of the chilly October evening spent outdoors. After a pizza dinner and a final run-through of the show, they piled onto three buses and traveled to Mitchel Field.  

Prior to their performance, the students waited in Lynbrook’s designated section of the bleachers as other marching bands performed. The festival was kicked off with the United States Marine Corps Marching Band, which played songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” After this patriotic performance, the festival continued with the performances of the following schools, in order, as listed on Newsday’s website ( “Brentwood, Eastport South Manor, Seaford, Oceanside, Rocky Point, General Douglas MacArthur, North Babylon, Lynbrook, Malverne, Central Islip, Connetquot, Farmingdale, and Northport.” The bands from across Nassau and Suffolk counties showed off the music and marching routines that were the products of hours of rehearsal. Popular songs, including those by Queen, Michael Jackson, and other famous artists and groups, were heard throughout the night and enjoyed by the cheering audience of parents and friends. 

Lynbrook’s performance began with a drumline solo titled “Lemon Pie,” led by Percussion Section Leader Brian Mansfield, a senior, as well as Assistant Section Leader Jake Schettini, a junior. After the solo, the band marched out to the front of the field as Drum Major Adam Samuel, a senior, conducted the percussion’s cadence. Lynbrook’s show, called “All We Need Is Love,” included its selection of love-themed Beatles songs. During “Love Me Do,” the band marched into formation for the word “LOVE” and then marched backwards to allow for the kickline to assume positions for the next song. “She Loves You” featured the kickline’s dance routine, which included the team forming its pom-poms into the letters “LHS” and then three hearts to go with the love theme. In their following song, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, the band members formed into two rectangles that marched in opposite directions during a percussion solo. Lynbrook’s finale, “All You Need Is Love,” ended with a ritardando for a dramatic finish. Throughout the show, the color guard, led by captains Clarissa Charpentier and Regan O’Callaghan, both seniors, followed their routine, moving their black, green, and gold flags in time to the music, and the owl mascot, sporting a sparkly heart shirt, danced and wove between the band’s lines.  

Despite the cold, the students were still able to perform well and enjoy themselves. White commented, “It was our first year back since 2019, so we were so happy to be there. The students had an amazing time. They performed wonderfully, and I think it was overall an awesome experience.” He continued, “I think we were one of the best bands that performed, and I’m so proud of everybody.” 

After the march-off and applause from the audience, Lynbrook’s performers returned to the stands as the rest of the bands performed. At the end of the night, all the marching bands returned to the field, and the three in the center played “America the Beautiful,” after which each school received a trophy to finish the night off. 

Lynbrook was supported by Principal Matthew Sarosy, Director of Fine and Performing Arts Adrianna Schaefer, and Superintendent Melissa Burak, as well as family and friends who came to watch and cheer from the spectators’ stands. Sarosy related that he had been highly anticipating this event: “When I took over the role of principal of the building, the marching band festival was one of the calendar events that I was really looking forward to, because as an assistant principal, I never attended,” he said. “I was excited to move into that kind of a role where I get to see it with my own eyes and ears, and I was blown away.” 

Another memorable aspect of the festival for the attending students took place in the stands. The students of Lynbrook and General Douglas MacArthur High School, whose place in the stands was adjacent to Lynbrook’s, were especially entertained by comical interactions between Lynbrook’s owl mascot and MacArthur’s general mascot. Their antics included a jocular proposal, dance-off, and face reveal that brought much laughter and excitement for the students watching. Pacheco said, “…my favorite part of that night was watching the encounter between the Lynbrook and MacArthur mascots.” 

The students of the marching band, color guard, and kickline exerted much time and effort in the weeks leading up to the Newsday festival, practicing and perfecting the various elements of their show. Sarosy added, “It’s very cool that the marching bands, because of all the work that goes into creating their shows…get a night for [themselves].” Lynbrook plans on continuing its attendance at the event in future years, but the 2022 festival will remain an important one as most of the students were participating for the first time. As Sarosy described, “…it was just a night to be really proud to be a part of the school community.”