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Marching band scores Carrier Dome win

Bees hit the road for NYC competition this weekend

“Head of the Elvi” John Bartlett performs during the Baldwinsville’s Marching Bees show “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas” on Oct. 28 at the Carrier Dome. Bartlett, a senior at Baker High School, and the rest of the Bees took first place in the Large School 2 Division during the 2012 Field Band Championship Show held at the Dome.

“Head of the Elvi” John Bartlett performs during the Baldwinsville’s Marching Bees show “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas” on Oct. 28 at the Carrier Dome. Bartlett, a senior at Baker High School, and the rest of the Bees took first place in the Large School 2 Division during the 2012 Field Band Championship Show held at the Dome.

— The Baldwinsville Marching Bees “stomped” competition during the 2012 Field Band Championship Show held Oct. 28 at the Carrier Dome.

Performing “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas,” the Bees took first place in the Large School 2 Division, a feat the students accomplished despite losing many graduating seniors. In fact, their focus has led them to compete and win seven New York state shows so far this year.

“Many people deemed this year to be a rebuilding year for us after graduating so many seniors who helped build the successes of the past few seasons,” said Casey Vanderstouw, the Baker High School Band Director. “Our group understood that regardless of experience or ability level, if we continued to work hard each week and did so in a professional manner that we could, in fact, be successful. It was very rewarding to see this lesson come to fruition.”

According to Vanderstouw, the Bees begin preparing their show, which must be between seven and 13 minutes in length, in the spring. Once ready, the show is performed during various competitions in the fall leading up to the championships.

“Each show consists of seven judges who critique the band for music, visual and timing,” he said noting that bands continue to refine shows throughout the season.

Judges consider all elements of a performance including musicality, marching ability, show concept and design and execution of the show. The most important factor, however, is the students’ ability to perform the show and understand their responsibilities.

“I believe that we are in the hardest division in the entire field band conference, hands down,” Vanderstouw said. “Any band in our class can win in any given year.”

In fact, during the previous two seasons, the Bees lost the championships by less than one point. Further demonstrating the difficult level of competition, the Bees went on to perform at the Gator Bowl last season where they won every honor despite a close loss in the championships.

The Marching Bees hit the road this weekend to compete again at the US Bands National Championship show held Saturday, Nov. 10, at the MetLife Stadium in New York City.

“My pride in our students is profound,” Vanderstouw said. “I hope they always remember that while you can't be guaranteed a win, you can only be guaranteed a loss if you don't work hard. This motto worked well this year and I hope, above all else, that they never forget this lesson.”

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