Marching Band performed but didn’t compete Sunday at 35th BHS band festival

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The 35th annual Bloomfield High School Bengal Marching Band Festival was held at Foley Field on Sunday, Oct. 30. As hosting band, BHS did not compete but did play its halftime show. The music of Billy Joel was featured.

“Our best show of the year,” music director Brendan Hughes said in an email following the performance. “There has been a huge improvement since we started working in August, and many of the things we’ve been working on went well on Sunday.”

At a practice on Saturday, at Foley Field, there was the opportunity to watch the construction of the show. Groups of musicians, in street clothes, played while moving backward, forward or sideward within a section of the hash-marked football field, as flags, held by color guards, fluttered and spun. Spectacle plays an important part in a presentation of a marching band, Hughes said.

Close attention is paid to the shape of the band as it expands and contracts. With sections of instruments shifting about and taking with them the music being played, Hughes said a solidified sound is paramount.

“I’m looking for so many things,” he said. “I’m always listening. It comes back to music.”

During a drill, there are always intricacies to watch for, he said.
“Sometimes I look at one kid,” he said, “sometimes it’s the big shape.”

The marching band hires a drill writer to create the halftime shows, Hughes said. Musical scores are determined, the places where musical sections should be during a drill and the performance of the color guards.

Hughes said colored flags are used to signify a change in mood and a progress of emotions. Rifles are tossed high and caught, always creating a moment of drama.

“It’s all to catch the eye,” he said.
Hughes said his favorite part of the halftime show is right at the start.
“I like the opening,” he said. “That first note that’s right in your face. That’s what I look for, impact moments.”