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September 24, 2018

Pride Of Oswego Ready To March Into Winning Season


OSWEGO, NY – The 102 members of the Oswego High School Marching Buccaneers invite the public to watch the seasons change – to music.

DrumMajor Emilie Benigno leading the ensemble

Drum Major Emilie Benigno leading the ensemble

The Oswego Marching Buccaneers’ 2011 production, Autumnal Metamorphosis, is a three-part presentation designed to recreate the visual changes that occur during the fall months, according to the band’s director.

This year’s program is under the directorship of Scott Ciesla.

Also helping out will be drum major Emilie Benigno; with support from program coordinator Nick Baratta, who also does the music and percussion arrangement; drill design Rick Morey; color guard choreography Ryan Bronner; color guard Bronner, Shannon Omara, Andrew Buchmann; marching and maneuvering Michael Tierney, Paul McPherson, Brian Walls, Ali Sivers; percussion Heather Sweeting, Thomas Norton, Bryan Kern; music Ciesla, James Peer, Stephen Defren.

Assistant directors are Defren, Sweeting, McPherson and Tierney.

“I have a lot of young kids this year. They are really putting forth a great effort and catching on quickly,” Ciesla said. “Of the 11 trumpet players, only four of them are in high school. At the moment, the rest are seventh or eighth graders. We have a lot of veterans mixed in.”

The band’s numbers have gone up. They finished the season last year with 89 and are more than 100 strong this year.

“And that is with losing, I think, 22 graduating seniors,” Ciesla added.

“I have high hopes for them this year. You know what? They are doing a really good job so far this year! I just have a nice bunch of kids. They work really hard – probably harder than any group that I’ve seen in a while.”

Tyler Benjamin and Michael Sheffield practice during Band Camp

<p>Tyler Benjamin and Michael Sheffield practice during Band Camp</p>

The program, he added, is definitely on the up-swing.

The Oswego Marching Buccaneers’ 2011 production, Autumnal Metamorphosis, is a three-part presentation designed to recreate the visual changes that occur during the fall months, he said.

Soloists in this year’s production include Heather Carapetyan on flute, Gina Bartholomew on mellophone and Emily King on trumpet.

Cathy McSweeney, VP of the Oswego High School Band Parent Association, describes the program as: “The first day, the Equinox, offers us vibrant greens and feelings of joy that we carry with us throughout the summer. As autumn approaches we are visually awakened and aware of the breathtaking color changes that surround us in nature, and draw upon them like the colors of an artist’s palette. As the leaves change their colors, they fill the atmosphere with darker tones as the season draws closer to its conclusion. In the final moments of autumn, the dry brown leaves playfully dance across the ground and become white flakes of snow with the onset of the winter solstice.”

The first part of the show, they start out with green colors and then slowly phases into yellow and the second piece ends in a copper-reddish color, Ciesla explained.

Practicing drill formations of program segments

Practicing drill formations of program segments

“We end in a tree set and all the leaves start falling off the trees,” he said. “It’s really rather cool! And then our show will end with a whiteout and one person dancing as the first snowflake of the season.”

Several of the band parents are helping build the special sets, he added.

Khadijah Malone (color guard) and Gina Bartholomew (mellophone) are two seniors looking forward to a good season. It is Malone’s third year with the band and Bartholomew’s fifth.

“The hardest part, so far, is watching out for other people around you while we’re learning the routines,” Malone said. “We have flags and they have big instruments, so it wouldn’t be good if we got tangled up.”

“Remembering is a big part of it, too,” Bartholomew added. “You have to concentrate, remember what you’re suppose to be doing and where you’re going or else someone could get hurt because they are so many of us on the field all at once.”

Last season's drum major, Jackie Hondro, foreground, helped out during Band Camp. She said she is very excited about the Marching Buccaneers' program this year.

Last season's drum major, Jackie Hondro, foreground, helped out during Band Camp. She said she is very excited about the Marching Buccaneers' program this year.

“There’s a lot of communication, that’s the most of it. We’re all together, helping each other,” Malone said. “We yell back and forth to each other. There might be differences off the field, but not on the field.”

The Marching Buccaneers recently completed their annual “Summer Band Camp” in preparation for the 2011 New York State Field Band Competition season.

Camp consisted of a week of daily seven-hour practices, includes theme days and the annual Family Picnic.

The physical aspect of it, especially practicing in the sun, can be grueling, Malone and Bartholomew said, adding that once they’ve built up their stamina, it’s really not that hard anymore.

Tyler Benjamin is one of the members of the drum line. The sophomore is in his second year of marching band.

Michael Sheffield, another sophomore drummer, is in his third year with the band.

“The best part of practicing is when I am working on something and I get that part down,” he said. “I feel very accomplished when I do that.”

Mellophone and trombones work on getting the sound just right.

Mellophone and trombones work on getting the sound just right.

“We’re all friends and we help each other learn stuff,” Benjamin noted.

Michael Gill is one of the seniors on this year’s squad. This is the trombone player’s fourth year with the squad.

“This season, our entire show is about the transition between summer and fall. I think it is going to look very good once we get it all together and perform,” he said. “We are all excited about our program this year. We are expecting great things.”

The Pride of Oswego opens the season Sept. 10 at the annual East Syracuse-Minoa Field Band Competition.

“The local highlight for the Marching Bucs will be the 33rd annual Pageant of Champions (Sept. 24) at Wilber Field,” Ciesla said.

The event will feature many outstanding field bands from across Central New York. The Marching Bucs will perform in exhibition.

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