Blue Devil Band Heads to State Championships

The Blue Devil band is comprised of 111 members. (Darin Reed photo.)

October 27, 2016

The competition is expected to be challenging at the New York State Field Band Conference’s 42nd annual championships at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, but the Blue Devil band is ready to shine.

Huntington High School marching band musicians and color guard members are headed to Onondaga County, where they will be among 51 bands spread across six divisions vying for coveted state titles. The event culminates the fall competition season, which the Blue Devils kicked-off last summer with a weeklong camp at J. Taylor Finley Middle School.

Bands in the state championships are required to perform a musical and visual show of about 8-10 minutes in total length for a panel of ten judges, which rank the bands within each respective class. The highest scoring band in each class will be awarded the Governor’s Cup. Last year’s champions included Victor, East Syracuse Minoa, Jamestown, Central Square, West Seneca and Roslyn.

The Blue Devil band will compete in the
Syracuse Carrier Dome. (Mike Connell photo.)

Huntington will compete in the Large School 2 class division along with bands representing Copiague, Horseheads, Orchard Park, Webster, Cicero-North Syracuse and Kingston high schools. The Blue Devils are scheduled to take the field for their performance on Sunday, October 30 at 3:57 p.m.

The Blue Devil marching band remains a tremendous source of pride within the Huntington school community,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “The group has experienced yet another outstanding season to date and is primed and ready to leave it all on the Carrier Dome turf. On behalf of the entire district, I wish them well. They are already champions in so many respects! Go HBDMB!”

The state championships will feature more than 4,000 band members performing before 22 judges over 14 hours of competition before a crowd of 10,000. The smallest band numbers 35 teenagers while the largest one consists of 200 musicians and color guard members.

In addition to the 51 competing bands, which will perform from early in the morning to late in the evening, the University at Buffalo Thunder of The East marching band and the Syracuse University marching band will stage exhibitions. The bands will represent nearly every region of the state and will include two from Pennsylvania and another from New Jersey.

Visit for more information about this year’s championships.

Huntington’s 2016 field show is The New World. The Blue Devils captured first place in competitions at Brentwood, Copiague, Malverne and Sachem and earned a score of “superior” at an indoor performance in Mineola. The band finished second in a competition at Arlington.

The Blue Devil marching band’s professional staff is led by director Jessica Castaneda and assistant director Brian Stellato. Rachel Roday and Anjali Kapur are this year’s drum majors. Connor Grosso is the field major. Jamie Rosenbauer captains the woodwind section while Jordan Biener serves as the brass captain. Dawson Wallace is the drum captain. Olivia Baldanza will captain the band’s color guard.

Katy Dara and Shannon Foley are the flute section leaders. Peter Ciccone and Jamie Rosenbauer are the clarinet section leaders. Mardnie Mentor leads the alto saxophone section. Torre Palmer heads the tenor saxophone/baritone saxophone section. Connor Grosso and Aidan McCooey serve as the trumpet section leaders.

Adina Kirkland is this year’s mellophone section leader. Jordan Biener heads the low brass section. William Fallon and Cailan Polishook are the front ensemble section leaders.

The band includes 111 members and a staff of 17 professionals. This year’s show includes three movements and 77 sets of drill.

The Blue Devil marching band is headed to the state championships. (Darin Reed photo)
The Blue Devil band's color guard is an essential component. (Mike Connell photo.)
The Blue Devil band is comprised of 111 members. (Darin Reed photo.)
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