Spotlight: North East High School Band Slam 2012

Thunderstorms Loom Around Stadium, yet Band Slam 2012 Shines Brightly for North East's Blue Crew Family

With forecasts indicating a 75-percent chance of severe thunderstorms during the event, all signs pointed toward the sophomore "Blue Crew Nor'easter Band Slam" living a bit more up to its name than its planners would have liked.  With the gymnasium standing at the ready, it was under partly sunny skies that student vocalist Katie O'Brien led the spectators in the Star Spangled Banner.  With "the home of the brave" ringing true in the air, Band Slam 2012 was underway.

Band Slam 2012 - North East High School - MD - Bohemia Manor

Six marching units took the field at Band Slam. The first three were all in Group 1A, so the competition was on from the first step-off. Having made their rise from the ashes at last year's Band Slam, Bohemia Manor was taking their first competitive marching steps in decades. "The SPYRYT of the 70's" did not disappoint, and it was clear that this band is well on its way toward matching their fellow Group 1A bands in Cecil County and beyond.

Next on the scene was Elkton. The "Golden Elks" brought "The Music of Flight" to the Band Slam field and showed why they are consistently in the upper half of the USBands competitive world. As this show grows and matures, Elkton could be a force to be reckoned with come November's Maryland State Championships.

The hits just kept on coming as the 2011 Group 1A Maryland State Champion Perryville Panthers brought their unique combination of charming theatrics and warm, chorale-like instrumentation to "I just Want to Go to Disney World!" A young man wants to go to the happiest place on Earth, and as the story unfolds both musically and visually, the band doesn't disappoint - bringing some of the best music from Disney hits like The Little Mermaid and Fantasia!

Stepping up to Group 3A, another returning band from the inaugural Band Slam was Patapsco's "Marching Patriots."  The unit treated the audience to a Magical Mystery Tour with their Beatle Mania show. The performance was chock full of hits, including "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday" and the show-stopping "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Always a joy to watch, this band's pride clearly shines through.

As Patpasco exited the field, a newcomer to Band Slam claimed their position on the field and waited for the "ready."  Group 4 Open powerhouse, Caesar Rodney's "Rider" Marching Band took the field - ALL of the field - and made their long-awaited debut in the USBands Circuit. The band showed the crowd why they have a 32-year history of excellence with a show simply titled Russia.  This journey through many compositions of Russian origin featured all segments of the ensemble and certainly left its stamp on the memories of those in attendance. Caesar Rodney is for real and will be on everyone's radar as they continue down their schedule with USBands.

From Perryville through Caesar Rodney, the dark skies grew closer to the point where it seemed as if the only clear patch was directly overhead.  It was under these ominous conditions that the six-time Group 2A Maryland State Champion North East "Blue Crew" Marching Band premiered a show that transports the audience to the days just before one of the deadliest days in American history - a day that will forever live in "Infamy!" Despite having graduated over twenty members with the Class of 2012, director Drew Keim and his team have infused this young body of musicians into with a new-found belief that they, too, can achieve greatness. Their performance Saturday night was a sign that the future is not so far ahead for this Blue Crew. They have their tickets punched for Maryland State Championships at Towson University on November 3...stay tuned.

Band Slam 2012 - North East High School - MD - North East (3

The Blue Crew family put on an outstanding event with the full support of both the North East administration and the Bohemia Manor administration who generously shared their facility while North East awaits new facilities of their own. They join the Cecil County community in being staunch supporters of music programming in our public schools. Music is truly the "fourth R." Without it, we have nothing to Read, wRite or perform aRithmetic about!

About five minutes after the last award was presented, the skies opened, the thunder rolled, the lightning struck in all directions, and I think I saw Noah looking for some gopher wood.

See y'all next year at Band Slam 2013!


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