The Chatham High School Marching Band

Monday, November 2nd, 2015
Marching Band

Fall is football season. Traditionally, the Chatham High School student body, more commonly known as Cougar Nation, comes out to support the CHS football team every weekend. Yet, what most fans take for granted is the exceptional marching band that performs during halftime.  While most students are familiar with the band, they have no idea how much work goes into the show they perform and the competitions they take part in on a regular basis.  This year, the band has experienced major success thanks to a riveting show that captures the audience’s attention with its catchy music, epic storyline, and its inclusion of a life-sized boat, among other props.

The creation of a show is a well thought out and time consuming process, led by Mr. Conti, the director of the marching band. The preparation in search for the next show begins in February, with a team of advisors working to find a show with enough “wow factor” to make it stand out in a crowd.  The decision is finalized by April, when students receive their music for the first time.  From that point on, it’s practice, practice, practice.  Students are expected to know their music inside and out by the time band camp rolls around, so they can use the six straight days of training to learn and master the marching patterns of the show. Throughout the fall, students are expected to practice their music individually, meet for two to three practices a week, and perform at football games and competitions, resulting in an intense schedule rivaling one of a school sports team.

These hours of practice are completed with one goal in mind: a perfect show. This year’s show is named “The New Land,” and tells the story of a crew aboard a ship in search of undiscovered territory.  Incorporated throughout the routine are intricate drill designs executed by the musicians, graceful and unique choreography performed by the guard, and suspenseful plot twists, including a thunderstorm in the middle of the routine.  It includes a brand new PA system and an intricately created set, including a tarp to simulate the ocean and a wooden boat built and painted by the students.  This unique layout and concept has lead to a very successful season for the Cougars.  They have participated in four competitions, placing first in Rockaway and Randolph, second Piscataway, and receiving the only gold rating given by the judges at the New Jersey State Marching Band Festival in Wayne Hills.  Evidently, the commitment that marching band musicians and guard members have put into their performance has paid off, and their winning competition season deserves as many “cougar congrats” as any successful Chatham sports team.