Music will be flowing from Boardman High School this week as the band prepares to come together to perfect their performance. The 210 band members will be making a return trip to Chicago this year for Thanksgiving.
"We are at 210 this year that includes the dance line and auxiliaries," said band Director Tom Ruggieri. "That's down from 250 last year, but is still a good number."
He said the band program in Boardman reaches down to the eighth grade. That allows for feedback as far as the number of freshmen who will be joining the high school band each year. It allows Ruggieri the opportunity to see what instruments and numbers will be added each year. It also helps him plan each year to meet six fronts, which would account for 196 kids and a full band.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Adding that big bass sound to the Spartan Marching Band are bass drummers freshman Timmy Wardle, junior Austin Snovak, senior Mike Shobel, junior Tim Mook, and senior Nick Barone.
"If we don't get that number, we can still make the lines look complete," he said. "We don't really know where we'll be at until the first day of band. Then we will have a good idea of what we have to work with."
Band actually started practice in July with the freshmen and new band members. On Monday, the full band came together for the first time and began a week of rehearsals.
Next week they will head to Erie, Pa., for band camp, where the kids will put in four rehearsal sessions each day. They will have dorm housing and a little free time to unwind from the busy schedule.
"Band camp is the most important aspect of our summer practice," Riggieri said. "We don't have the distraction of leaving early for a doctor's appointment or some other reason."
Being able to focus for an entire week without those distractions help make the Boardman band one of the best in the area. The kids have to be good to be accepted in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago, which this year's group will be headed in November.
"We've done this parade in the past," Ruggieri said. "We have a good relationship with the company that puts this parade on and we are at the point that all we need do is submit the application and we are in."
He said a lot of bands travel, but few get to perform in a national parade. While it is an honor, it does come with a price. The trip costs each student around $750 to cover lodging, transportation and meals. Band members perform fund-raisers, such as last weekend's annual car wash, to help defray the costs.
Boardman Band and Orchestra Parents, better known as BBOP, plan and help the kids with everything from uniforms to sales. This year's officers include President Tom Oslin, Vice President Diane Eliser, Secretary Cheryl Dutko, Treasurer Beth Bean, band delegate Cindy Perorazio and orchestra trustee Marci Rowland. Call 330-726-3420 for information about band and its programs.