The drum line laid down a tight rhythm. The tuba player provided the bottom, the flautist the top, while the saxophones and French horn rounded out the middle.
Saugerties once again has a marching band, something the district has not had in more than 20 years. The band is the brainchild of music instructor Bernard Spirig with an assist from Superintendent Seth Turner.
Residents will get their first chance to see the band, which consists mostly of middle school students with a few high school students, during the July 4 parade.
Once, the Saugerties school marching band was one of the best around, playing in parades and competitions up and down the East Coast. And while it’s still a work in progress, Spirig and his enthusiastic players hope this new incarnation can recapture some of that old magic.
Spirig first began asking students if they’d be interested in playing in the band last year. The response was overwhelming. When the band first began practicing for the parade in the school’s parking lot, “People came out to cheer for us,” Spirig said.
The cheering section was led by Turner and a number of other staff members.
“All of the credit for the marching band belongs with Mr. Spirig,” Turner wrote in an email response to a number of questions. “Several weeks ago, I was driving into work in the morning, and I saw a large group of students coming out of the back of the school… I thought, ‘Oh great, someone hit a fire alarm.’ Then I noticed the tuba… the drums… the flutes… and the students began to play. I then chased after the group, and told Mr. Spirig to come and see me immediately, so that I could assist him in making sure the band has the materials and supplies necessary. By the 4th of July, they will have nice shirts, a banner and harnesses to hold flags,” Turner wrote.
“There has not been a marching band in the district since the late 1980s. It is exciting to see that students have gravitated toward this endeavor. When a group of people is inspired – awesome things will happen. Many other community members are now stepping up and are looking for ways to support the marching band.”