More than 50 high schools took part at the 44th annual New York State Field Band Conference championships on Oct. 29. In its second year of competing in Small School Class Division 1, the highest class for the district’s size, Malverne High School’s marching band finished third.
“It’s still surreal for us,” said band director Glen Johnson, “but that’s what this school is all about.”
Johnson said his team members got chills when the announcers called the school to the field at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse for their final performance. “Once they got out there,” he said, “they dominated ... Our performance was clean both visually and musically, and I’m proud that we got to represent our community in such a positive way.”
Parents, students, faculty and board members of the Malverne School District celebrated the team’s achievement at the band’s annual dinner on Nov. 9 in the high school gymnasium. State Sen. Todd Kaminsky presented a proclamation to the band and congratulated the group for not being afraid to “step up to the big boys.”
“It’s not the pride of Malverne,” Kaminsky said. “You guys are the pride of Long Island.”
Kaminsky, who was a member of the band at Long Beach High School in 1996, added that there is no band on Long Island that works as hard as Malverne’s, which he said has led to its success.
Johnson said that the band’s journey began in November 2016 when his staff started to prepare their performances.
Once rehearsals took place in March, Johnson said, it was to up to the band to find that team chemistry.
“They had to find themselves and believe in each other,” Johnson said, “and once they did that, they just took off. We grew as a family together, and we didn’t look back.”
“To see where this program has gone is really a great feeling,” said Michael Messina, the district’s chairman of music and fine arts. “The level that this program is at now is just unbelievable.”
Messina also said the district has invested in a new music wing at the high school, which is expected to be completed in the next two years. Before the band repeated its championship performance at the high school one last time, Messina and Johnson thanked the parents and community members for their support.
“There’s just something unique about this community of Malverne that is so supportive of this marching band,” Johnson said. “You just don’t get that in other schools. The sky is the limit with what we can do, and I feel like the support will continue for a very long time as long as the kids just keep dedicating themselves to the program.”