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Stay in Step: The DHS Marching Band show explained

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For years, Dartmouth High School has taken pride in its music program, specifically in the marching arts. Whether it be indoors or outdoors, students as well as staff are constantly working hard to ensure that the programs put out by DHS are done so to the best of their ability. Members of the band, colorguard, and percussion strive for nothing but perfection, and rehearse up to 15 hours a week.

However, all that hard work pays off. Since 2013, the Dartmouth High School Marching Band has been highly successful at competitions on the local and national level. Productions like Paris (2013) and Into the Light of Spring (2016) achieved first place at MetLife Stadium for the end-of-the-season performance.

So what makes the 2017 season so different from past years? Well, to start, this show relies on theatrics performed by both the guard and the band. In fact, the show idea was a last ditch effort to make a show-stopping performance for the band. The show designers, including, but not limited to, Music Director William Kingsland, Head of Percussion Thomas Aungst, and color guard designer Addison Kaeterle actually had two to three other show ideas picked out with accompanying music for them. However, the techs did not feel strongly about these ideas, since they were not as involved and did not showcase the ensemble’s strengths.

With that, Farewell My Lovely was born. Members of the band and colorguard all have their own interpretations of the show. Drill instructor Mike Rayner describes the show as being reminiscent of “a 1920s murder mystery” movie.

So who done it? Well, that is not revealed until the close of the show. The show opens with the audience meeting and loving the main character and damsel in distress, portrayed by guard member Reilly Leconte. Then enters the detective,  sophomore guard member Ava Clune, who falls in love with the damsel during the ballad. The show ends with a bang, with the damsel killed and the murderer, portrayed by piccolo player and junior Rebecca Benoit, on the run.

This intense plot line is accompanied by great music choices, as the band opens with some jazz in “Harlem Nocturne,” wows the crowd with “Sherlock Holmes,” serenades the audience in “Farewell My Lovely,” and takes the whole show up a notch with “Ignition.” With solos from seniors Isabel Harris, Christophe Chedid, and Ben Will, as well as juniors Caleb Enos and Paul Jasmin, along with flying tempos, and cool visuals, this show will capture the audience with an engaging performance.

Despite last year’s win, the staff is not willing to be complacent this current season. Teachers and techs are hard at work to help the group improve as they prepare for nationals, taking place at MetLife Stadium this November. Colorguard director Addison Kaeterle said the guard is focusing on improving their skill set in order to do well in competition.

Head drill instructor Mike Rayner said that although the weather has been less than cooperative, the group is “better than we usually are at the start of the season.”

So far, the band has competed in several competitions. The first was for the New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA) on Saturday, September 16 in Randolph. The group placed first in their division with a score of 82.7. The second show was for the USBands circuit, on Saturday, September 23 in Medway, where the band placed first in their division yet again with a score of 80.075.

On Saturday, September 30, the band hosted a competition right here in Dartmouth, at the Dartmouth Memorial Stadium. Performing last in their division, they placed first in both their division and overall with a score of 85.725. The group will be going to nationals at MetLife Stadium on November 11.

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Stay in Step: The DHS Marching Band show explained