BAND PHOTOS: Get ready to ‘Danse Macabre’


Marching Comets readying Dia de los Muertos show

By Jason Hawk - jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com



Shane Scheffer, Ethan Cooper, and Jewelia Houghtland play their hearts out on the Steele High School practice field under the direction of Christopher Barbaro.

Shane Scheffer, Ethan Cooper, and Jewelia Houghtland play their hearts out on the Steele High School practice field under the direction of Christopher Barbaro.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

As a percussionist, Kylie Lawson does the heavy lifting both in terms of hefting her instrument and keeping fellow marching band members in perfect time.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Aaron Boothe rat-a-tat-tats away at a snare.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Christie Cecil steps forward to play a solo with Latin flair.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Emily Capitano


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Mikey Uszak Jr.


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Tristan Kliemann


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Alissa Menefee


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Lily Draga


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Dylan Strausser and Isaac Austin


Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

BAND GOALS

The Amherst Marching Comets aim to earn a spot at the state championships for the 17th consecutive year.

As a bonus, this year’s band will perform at the Magic Kingdom. The trip will take place in March during Spring Break.

Dia de los Muertos is still three months away — but take a trip down Washington Street and you’ll see nearly 150 teenagers getting ready to celebrate it.

If you’ve seen the 2017 Disney-Pixar film “Coco,” you know the Mexican holiday, celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, is all about family, honoring our ancestors, and praying to help them along their journey in the afterlife.

You’ll also recognize much of the symbolism and imagery in this year’s Amherst Marching Comets competition show.

Students and volunteers have built three ofrendas — traditional alters where pictures of lost loved ones and their personal items are placed each year in their memory.

Band director Christopher Barbaro described how the ofrendas will each represent a fictional family and will be adorned with flowers, lights, flickering candles, and sugar skulls. They’ll connect on the field to form a 32-foot-long stage.

The flag corps will also feature three flag variations to honor the three families, and the show boasts acoustic guitar solos in a Latin style.

The closer is French composer Camille Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre,” an 1874 waltz celebrating the Old World idea that everyone is united in death regardless of their station in life.

Barbaro said it will be a “big, epic drumming closer” with eerie skeletons.

“I hope that people enjoy the journey of the show,” he said.

Amherst football fans are also going to love the Marching Comets’ halftime show, which features pop classics. The playlist includes “Any Way You Want It” by Journey, “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe, “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars, and more.

Whether on the football field or at competition, you’re sure to notice the band’s ranks have swollen from 122 last year to 148 in 2018.

Barbaro said the band continues to grow along with orchestra. Music program directors are seeing a great deal of enthusiasm that’s led to better retention of musicians as they rise through the grades from middle school.

This year will be the first with the orchestra at Steele High School. In fifth grade, musicians can pick the fit that’s right for them, whether it’s the bold sounds and choreography of the marching band or fine, classical approach of the orchestra.

The programs don’t compete for students, said Barbaro — there is plenty of talent to go around.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Shane Scheffer, Ethan Cooper, and Jewelia Houghtland play their hearts out on the Steele High School practice field under the direction of Christopher Barbaro.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_01.jpgShane Scheffer, Ethan Cooper, and Jewelia Houghtland play their hearts out on the Steele High School practice field under the direction of Christopher Barbaro.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

As a percussionist, Kylie Lawson does the heavy lifting both in terms of hefting her instrument and keeping fellow marching band members in perfect time.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_02.jpgAs a percussionist, Kylie Lawson does the heavy lifting both in terms of hefting her instrument and keeping fellow marching band members in perfect time.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Aaron Boothe rat-a-tat-tats away at a snare.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_03.jpgAaron Boothe rat-a-tat-tats away at a snare.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Christie Cecil steps forward to play a solo with Latin flair.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_06.jpgChristie Cecil steps forward to play a solo with Latin flair.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Emily Capitano
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_07.jpgEmily Capitano

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Mikey Uszak Jr.
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_08.jpgMikey Uszak Jr.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Tristan Kliemann
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_09.jpgTristan Kliemann

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Alissa Menefee
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_10.jpgAlissa Menefee

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Lily Draga
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_12.jpgLily Draga

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Dylan Strausser and Isaac Austin
https://www.theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/08/web1_11.jpgDylan Strausser and Isaac Austin

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Marching Comets readying Dia de los Muertos show

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@aimmediamidwest.com

BAND GOALS

The Amherst Marching Comets aim to earn a spot at the state championships for the 17th consecutive year.

As a bonus, this year’s band will perform at the Magic Kingdom. The trip will take place in March during Spring Break.