‘This Just In’: Marching Comets do the news


By Jason Hawk - jhawk@civitasmedia.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Trombonist Savannah Williams keeps her elbows out while marching Friday in breezy 80-degree temps.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Trombonist Savannah Williams keeps her elbows out while marching Friday in breezy 80-degree temps.


The Marching Comets pose for a group photo on the Washington Street practice field next to Steele High School.


Savannah Santos perfects her footwork.


Destiny Champe keeps the pace for the Comets color guard.


Logan Dutro gets down low for the “Comets Dance,” stomping his feet and roaring.


Jacqui Patterson and Karen Haberbusch show just how much they love the band.


Saxaphonist Ben Folkwine and trumpeter Undrea Ballard march.


Gretchen Lasso


Patrick Wood


Aaron Boothe and Ryan Hannah


Jonathan Suwarna


Mikaila Jennings


Carlie Johnson


PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Drills in the hot sun are common summer fare for the Amherst Marching Comets and this year has been now exception. We found Steele High musicians practicing with thermoses this week as temperatures spiked into the mid-90s. Kids took frequent drink breaks, then ran back to the Washington Street practice field where director Chris Barbaro stalked back and forth, calling out the count, catching missteps, and tightening marching formations.

Here’s one we can get behind — a salute to the news will be the Amherst Marching Comets’ competition routine this fall.

“The whole show is based on historical headlines,” said band director Chris Barbaro. “It’s just a cool concept. I like to match the show to what the kids’ talent level is and it seems like a good match.”

Football halftime spectators and state judges this year will see a set mirroring the themes of the news with somber dark ballads and heroic anthems.

Look for a marching formation showing the stock market crash, nods to evening news anchors, “reporter” majorettes, and segments recalling the breaking news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, landfall of Hurricane Katrina, President Ronald Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech, and a tribute to South African President Nelson Mandela.

Barbaro said the kids will mix high-energy pieces such as “Fireball,” “Bang Bang,” and “Shake It Off” into Friday night performances at Comets football games.

The Amherst band is 128 musicians strong this year with 28 seniors.

They have a lot to live up to. Last year marked the 10th anniversary of superior ratings at state competition for Steele High School.

Competing schools from across Ohio have been getting better and better with each passing year, Barbaro said. “Something we would have gotten a ‘one’ (top rating) for five years ago wouldn’t get it today,” he said. “The industry keeps getting tougher and we’re staying at the top.”

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Trombonist Savannah Williams keeps her elbows out while marching Friday in breezy 80-degree temps.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3018.jpg

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Trombonist Savannah Williams keeps her elbows out while marching Friday in breezy 80-degree temps.

The Marching Comets pose for a group photo on the Washington Street practice field next to Steele High School.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_20150731_103902.jpgThe Marching Comets pose for a group photo on the Washington Street practice field next to Steele High School.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_2963.jpg

Savannah Santos perfects her footwork.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3000.jpgSavannah Santos perfects her footwork.

Destiny Champe keeps the pace for the Comets color guard.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3026.jpgDestiny Champe keeps the pace for the Comets color guard.

Logan Dutro gets down low for the “Comets Dance,” stomping his feet and roaring.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3054.jpgLogan Dutro gets down low for the “Comets Dance,” stomping his feet and roaring.

Jacqui Patterson and Karen Haberbusch show just how much they love the band.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3045.jpgJacqui Patterson and Karen Haberbusch show just how much they love the band.

Saxaphonist Ben Folkwine and trumpeter Undrea Ballard march.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3034.jpgSaxaphonist Ben Folkwine and trumpeter Undrea Ballard march.

Gretchen Lasso
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3036.jpgGretchen Lasso

Patrick Wood
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3007.jpgPatrick Wood

Aaron Boothe and Ryan Hannah
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3031.jpgAaron Boothe and Ryan Hannah

Jonathan Suwarna
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3003.jpgJonathan Suwarna

Mikaila Jennings
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3014.jpgMikaila Jennings

Carlie Johnson
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/07/web1_DSC_3015.jpgCarlie Johnson

By Jason Hawk

jhawk@civitasmedia.com

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Drills in the hot sun are common summer fare for the Amherst Marching Comets and this year has been now exception. We found Steele High musicians practicing with thermoses this week as temperatures spiked into the mid-90s. Kids took frequent drink breaks, then ran back to the Washington Street practice field where director Chris Barbaro stalked back and forth, calling out the count, catching missteps, and tightening marching formations.