The Millstone Times December 2021

Allentown High School Redbird Marching Band Ends Season with National Championship Win By Pam Teel

The Allentown High School Redbird Marching Band has bounced back in a big way after the COVID shutdown last year and ended their amazing season with a first-place finish at US Band’s IIA National Championships in Allentown, PA. The band earned many impressive awards before heading out to the Nationals on November 6th, including first place trophies at a number of New Jersey competitions in South Brunswick, Jackson, Robbinsville, Matawan, and Brick Township. The band was coming off second place finishes at the Yama- ha Cup at MetLife Stadium and the New Jersey State Cham- pionships in Union. “The students in this band are the hard- est working students Allentown High School has to offer,” stated Ross Hecht,” Allentown High School’s Bands Director. “From the long hot days of August to the cold late nights of November, this band pushed themselves to be the best. I am so proud of their accomplishments and could not be happier with the results. This was a team effort and we could not

have done it without the amazing students, staff, parents, and school district that support us. When all the pieces come together, amazing things happen.” Mr. Hecht went on stating that the band has a large team of talented and dedicated staff members working with the students to help them achieve success, that includes, David Geltch (Assistant Director), Jordan Fisch (Visual Caption Head and Visual Designer), Christa Benoit (Color Guard Director), John Forte (Percussion Caption Head), Stephanie Nelson (Front Ensemble Director and Arranger), Butch Anderson (Percussion Instructor), Brendan Korey (Music Instructor), and Renae Borgstrom (Weapons Instructor and Choreographer). “In addition, the band could not have done this without the support of our school district and school administration: Mark Guterl (Superintendent of Schools), Patrick Leary (Assistant Superintendent), Constance DeNicola Embley (Principal), Lynn Folino (Vice Principal), Brandon Crosby (Vice Princi- pal), and a very supportive Board of Education,” he added. “This year the Allentown High School Redbird Marching Band showed, on a national stage, what they are made of. They are the hardest working team at our school and their hard work paid off with the recognition they deserve. The band's show was exceptional, innovative and so enjoyable to watch,” stated Ms. Embley. “As the Principal, I could not be prouder of the band. None of this would be possible without the dedication to excellence and commitment to our students by our band director, Mr. Hecht. His leadership and musical talent make the band program what it is. I thank Mr. Hecht and his band staff for their contribution to our school.” Mr. Guterl, superintendent, added, “There is no harder working group of kids and coaches around. All hard work pays off and their season was a prime example of that. The students and coaches deserve every accolade they have received! The marching band must completely run their own performance during competitions, a fact the public may not realize. All coaches and directors must leave the field and students are completely in charge of their show. Mr. Hecht also credits their success to amazing students and student leadership, includ- ing Michelle Sabbatini (Senior Drum Major) who is responsible for leading the students through each performance. “Marching band is one of the most special activities that you can do in high school. It gives you family, life lessons, and friendships that will last forever,” said Ms. Sabbatini. “This season gave us ups and downs as a band, and it could not have ended more perfectly. Seeing my friends and peers work the extra inch to get the smallest details, push the limit, and see it all pay off was something that I am so lucky to experience. I am so proud of them all.” The band also enjoys much support from hardworking band parents. From their spirited reputation at performances to the help and assistance they give throughout the season, Mr. Hecht believes their commitment to students is unmatched by any other band parent organization and Pete Alessi (Red Bird Band Parent Association President) agrees. "There are so many people who deserve praise for making this band season a huge success. I am honored to participate and be a part of this momentous achievement,” said Alessi. “I have to give a special shout-out to all the band parents who volunteered to help out this band season. Blood, sweat, and tears have their rewards! So proud of all the students for the great effort that they put into this band season. Con- gratulations to all!” Congratulations Allentown Redbirds for all of your hard work and dedication!!!! For more information about the Redbird Marching Band or media in- quiries, contact

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