Roslyn Marching Bulldogs win state title

Samantha Pye

The Marching Bulldogs made Roslyn Band history Sunday with a first place win at the 42nd annual New York State Field Band Conference in Syracuse. 

With more than 4,000 high school students competing, Roslyn rocked the Carrier Dome with their all-time best score of 80.70 in the Small School Three Class, capping a sensational season.

“As a senior, this is my first year actually winning,” senior and CEO of the band Amy Pinchiaroli said. “It was a huge accomplishment. I felt a feeling of pride in myself for being party of something so great.”

Drum major Megha Schmalzle, who spent the season conducting above the field, said she couldn’t be happier with the band’s first-place finish.

“To graduate from high school with a win this big feels amazing. I’m so proud of my fellow band members and everything we have achieved this year,” she said.

The school received a plaque and badges for the band and staff members, as well as the privilege to display Governor’s Cup for one year. 

The cup has been passed around to all Small School Three winners in New York for 16 years, each having their name engraved on it.

Each band performed a seven-to-10-minute show for judges observing both on and above the field. 

Bands were evaluated based off their timing, appearance, visuals and musical production. 

Most shows have a theme, much like Roslyn’s 2015 circus show. 

The Roslyn High School band’s 2015 show, “Quidam” has been performed at numerous Wednesday night rehearsals on the high school turf, through countless run-throughs at band camp at Camp Taconic this past summer and at six different competitions. 

Quidam is a 1996 Cirque du Soleil show exploring a young girl’s dream world. 

This championship win is a first for the Roslyn Marching Bulldogs who said it will be a day to remember.

The celebration didn’t end once the band received the Governor’s Cup and took countless pictures on the turf of the dome. 

After a six-hour drive back to Roslyn, the three busses carrying the band were greeted with banners, balloons, fire trucks and an ice cream truck. 

Cheers from families, friends, teachers, administrators and members of the Roslyn community could be heard from a block away. 

Everyone there was armed with blue and white foam fingers and pom-poms to celebrate the triumph with hugs and smiles. 

The band then signed a custom banner with their names, the final score and a group picture. 

Throughout their season, the Roslyn Marching Bulldogs have kept a consistent top spot.  

“As the season went on, we gained momentum and maintained first place. I wasn’t entirely surprised, it was really exciting!” Senior Hannah Werner stated, president of the club. 

“This win shows the drive and determination of Roslyn students to meet and be successful when faced with a challenge,” Werner continues. 

Roslyn’s win this week follows years of high and low notes for the members and their advisors. From 2001 to 2006, Roslyn was in the Small School Three Class. 

In 2007, after winning second place in 2006, the band moved up to Small School Two. The band remained in SS2 until 2012. 

In 2013, the band left New York State Field Band Conference and entered US Band’s National Conference, competing at a the championship at MetLife Stadium in New York. They received 11th place in 2013, and 9th place in 2014. 

After weighing factors in, the band members and staff decided return to competing in the New York State Field Band Conference in SS3. Evidently, it wasn’t a poor call. 

“With such a high demand on academics, we can only rehearse 80 hours a season, which limits us greatly in terms of competing with the Small School Two Class,” band director Pat Patterson explained. “They’re all doing 400 to 500 hours a season. That’s why it’s hard to compete with Small School Two.”

In the past the band has performed at the Chick Fil-A Bowl, the Orange Bowl, Disney World, and at Met Life Stadium. 

Though this is the end to their competitive season, the band is looking forward to a week at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. in February of 2016, performing in parades at both the Epcot and Magic Kingdom parks. 

With a sequence of first place trophies, it’s surely been the band’s best year yet. The band is hoping this first placement is a symbol to a new time for The Roslyn Marching Bulldogs.

“This win for our district means that everyone in our community is a winner,” chief captain and junior Mark Kashani explained “We changed the culture of the band and we will continue to work hard to hold on to our championship title,”

Band members hold that this is only the beginning. 

“This win will bring a sense of pride to the town and hopefully the band will keep winning and will be able to keep that pride going,” Pinchiaroli said.

 Michael Coffey, Roslyn High School orchestra teacher and assistant marching band director, said he didn’t expect anything less from his hard working band. He said he believes victory brings immense pride to Roslyn. 

“Winning first place in our division at the Carrier Dome not only puts the Roslyn High School Marching Band on the map as a powerhouse in the cut-throat world of Field Band Competition, but it instills a great sense pride in the entire Roslyn community,” Coffey said. 

Band members aid they also hope the first-place finish will attract more interest in Roslyn’s award winning music program for the future. 

“Any time a group succeeds, it is very motivational for everyone,” Roslyn Middle School band director and marching band music instructor of the marching band Robert Gazzo shares. “I hope our win encourages more musicians to join the band and I wish all of our students and their families joy in celebrating our victory.”

“I think winning created a new era in the Roslyn Marching Band and I think it will make everyone currently in the band and everyone who will enter the band work even harder to succeed.” drum major Alyssa Rust added. 

 Patterson truly believes we’re looking at a new era for the Roslyn Marching Bulldogs. 

 “This band has changed the culture of our band program forever,” Patterson exclaimed. “We were stringing wins together all year long, it was very exciting! This is a tremendous accomplishment.”

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Samantha Pye

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