Competing against 19 marching bands from around the Northeast, the Newtown High School Marching Band and Guard, under the direction of Kurt Eckhardt, was awarded Best Percussion, Best Music, and Best Guard at the USBands Regional Freedom Cup, held outside Philadelphia October 11 to 13.
Judges scored Newtown 81.2, the school’s best showing thus far in US Bands competition.
Percussion instructor Dave Brush, who joined the staff this year, was elated.
“The difference this year is that I wrote a special arrangement for percussion, as opposed to just using the stock arrangement that came with the package. The kids really bought into it and embraced it. They believe in it, it’s all theirs, and you can just see the confidence in their performance,” said Mr Brush.
Mr Brush called the energy in both the drum line and the pit fantastic.
“They are all so dedicated and committed. They come early, they practice hard, and we have a great time. And to be awarded Best Percussion, well, Newtown has waited a long time for that, and I’m just so proud of them,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to recruiting for winter percussion, which begins competitions in January.
In the meantime, he said he expects the NHS Marching Band and Guard to take home more awards in their upcoming competitions, which will culminate in the US Bands Championships at Met Life Stadium in Rutherford, N.J., on November 2, and the Musical Arts Conference (MAC) Championships on November 9 at Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport.
Mr Brush said in addition to his high hopes for the percussion section, he also has a special appreciation for the color guard, and rewrote part of the drum line’s score to highlight weapon line features.
“Did you see them fight the wind to give us all an amazing performance?” he asked, adding, “They are just awesome. Every time.”