CHESHIRE — For some, autumn means football, with its whistles, cheers and the clash of pads.
For others, it means that the nation’s marching bands are back in the spotlight, with the trill of the piccolo, the thump of the bass drum, and the fanfare of the brass, moving in unison on the field.
Although Cheshire High School’s longtime Marching Band Director John Kuhner has retired from the role, the tradition of Music in Motion carries on under the baton of new Director Andrea Conrad. The annual marching band competition takes place on Oct. 7 at CHS.
“We host marching bands from around the state to perform their field shows for a panel of adjudicators to compete for the top spot in their class,” Conrad explained. “This year we have 10 bands performing, including the pride of Cheshire, the Cheshire High School Marching Ram Band.”
The show will begin at 5:50 p.m. with a performance of the “National Anthem” by the Ram Band and Dodd band students. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. however, with food specially prepared for the event available for purchase. The awards ceremony will be at 9:15 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, while children 5 and under are admitted for free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate on Oct. 7. Spectators may park at CHS for the show. Concessions will be available at the Concession Stand throughout the night.
“Cheshire's field show this year is called ‘Confined,’ and it depicts a journey from being trapped, through finding hope of escaping, to finally breaking free. The marching band and color guard have been working on perfecting their performance since Aug. 14, and will keep working until Open Class Nationals at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 4. Our drum major this year is CHS senior Kevin Bueno,” said Conrad.
Conrad will be directing the band at this competition for the first time.
Aimee Teator, co-president of the Band Parents Association, says band students and the teacher — whether Kuhner, Conrad or Greg Bell, who stepped in to lead the band last school year — work incredibly hard and she encourages people to come out and see the results. For one thing, she says the program is in good hands with Conrad.
“Cheshire is very lucky to have her. It has been a phenomenal program for the kids,” says Teator. While downplaying her own role as a volunteer, she notes that “there has to be participation on the outside. It can’t just be one teacher doing everything.”
Successful performances, Teator explained, rely on student commitment as well.
“They practice at least three times a week, Saturday from morning to night. Sometimes they have competitions where they don’t get back until midnight,” says Teator. Dealing with hot or cold weather and transporting heavy instruments — such as her own daughter’s marimba — are additional challenges the band must overcome. Having a major event like Music in Motion, Teator says, “gives everybody a chance to see the hard work paying off.”
Other schools participating include Hamden High School, Rockville High School, Lyman Hall High School, Mark T. Sheehan High School, Norwich Free Academy, Francis T. Maloney High School, Southington High School, Orville H. Platt High School and East Haven High School.