The Marching Dodgers Open with Impressive String of Performances and Competitive Success

The Band marches down for a football game against Mountain Lakes.stine Cullen.

Christine Cullen

The Band marches down for a football game against Mountain Lakes.stine Cullen.

Ben Colao, Staff Writer

At Madison High School, the marching band has long stood as one of the school’s most consistently successful and respected organizations – offering spectacular performances year after year for the benefit of students. This year, the band’s reputation stands as strong as ever. For their 2022 program Solaris – which revolves around the concept of musically illustrating the rise and fall of the Sun – the Marching Dodgers have already put in countless hours towards perfecting their craft and have had a string of performances in the past few weeks, each one better than the last. Their first performance was at the football team’s home opener against Hanover Park – where they also duly served in the stands, firing up their comrades on the field. The band has since also played at the football team’s other two games versus Mountain Lakes and Pequannock so far, and had a particularly memorable show at the Dodger Rally which took place last Friday. However, in the eyes of those performing, these were only stepping stones to their true “first” performances of the season: competitions.

Beyond their performances at school, the Marching Dodgers perform competitively throughout the fall, not just with the hopes of outdoing the other bands present but with surpassing the quality of the Madison bands that have come before them. So, how did they do? The band’s first competition in Roxbury was part of a new judging circuit that the Dodgers had never been a part of before, with a scoring philosophy completely separate from their “home league” of the Tournament of Bands, or TOB. Despite the disadvantages of this newcomer status,  the Dodgers still earned a solid score of 76.6, capturing third place out of five exceptional bands, winning the “Caption” – or category – award for Best Visual Effect. Along with drum majors Ryan Poole and Karen Wu, these awards were personally received by drum minors Luke Deane and Kay Chase. In their following competition in Metuchen – back in the realm of TOB – the band was eager to redouble their efforts on making their performance as best as possible, and to that end, they had great success. Madison earned first place with a score of 78.8, the highest score awarded to a band that day, with the awards being personally received by the drum majors, alongside the senior members of the drumline (Kavish Arora, Ben Colao, Jakub Szacillo, and Ben Preston).

Despite what may be first assumed, this year’s group is hardly composed of upperclassmen. Of the organization’s 60 or so members, around half are rookies, some as young as in the 6th grade. However, the Madison Marching Dodgers continue to thrive in spite of this fact through the sheer discipline and determination to succeed that is exhibited throughout their ranks. From this point, only time will tell as to how high the band will go this year, but it will certainly be an exciting journey to be a part of.