The Marching Band Dodgers Continue to Outshine the Competition as Regionals Approach

Ben Colao, Staff Writer

Ask any member of the Madison High School Marching Band about the past few weeks, and this is what you’ll hear about: averages of up to 14 hours of just rehearsal time for each week, performances at Madison’s football games against West Morris Mendham (home) and Caldwell (away), 3 competitions, and everything in between. Here is how the band made its way to glory:

Immediately following Homecoming, on Saturday, October 1st, it was a special day in the hearts of all the veterans – the home show. For this competition, Madison High School hosted nearly a dozen marching bands who all performed in the competition throughout the day. Along with the invaluable support of the band parents who ran the merchandise and concession stands, senior members and recognized leaders were all assigned bands to “escort” which primarily involved finding a place for the band to rehearse, giving time checks, and walking the band to the field once it was their time to perform. And then, once all the bands had assembled in the stands, the Dodgers themselves marched down to give the final show of the day. Although they performed in exhibition, they still were judged and received an unofficial score of 81.3 – the highest score of the day. 

In terms of real competition, however, all eyes were on the next Saturday, October 8th. Following the previous performance from the football team in Caldwell, the Dodgers would perform in two competitions on the same day. Typically, competitions last several hours – up to 6 or 7 from departure to arrival back home – and so bands almost never choose to perform multiple times in a day. However, the Dodgers found the opportunity to perform in the early afternoon, be present at awards in the early evening, and then race to another competition for a second performance late at night. Thus, despite the obvious challenge, the Dodgers prepared as usual to represent Dodger Nation.

First, the marching band traveled to MetLife stadium, where they marched down the very same tunnel as the Giants and Jets for their first performance in the USBands circuit, another fairly novel ‘league’ for the band, who only joined last season. Despite the typical disadvantages of being a newcomer to the circuit, the Dodgers earned a solid placement of 4th place, and despite not being in the top 3, won the award for best overall percussion. Then, just 6 hours later (and with very little break in between), the band was in Sparta, performing after one of their supposed “rivals” – Governor Livingston. Though they walked away with the higher score, the Dodgers still earned second place and tied them for best overall visual effect. And for a performance given by a cold, exhausted band, the score differential between Madison and GL made it clear that Governor Livingston could not truly call themselves superior.

The Marching Band has certainly kept itself busy for these past few weeks, and yet despite the challenge of this extraordinary commitment they have continued to see great success as larger and larger competitions loom on the horizon. Next weekend, along with performing at Madison’s away football game against Jefferson, the Band will be in Hightstown for another USBands competition and later in Berkeley Heights for GL’s own home show. One thing’s for certain though: if the marching band continues its current momentum, its competition will soon be permanently outshined by the undeniable quality of its performance and discipline.