Scene Around: RFH Marching Band, Color Guard Show Goes On

The pandemic didn’t stop the show. The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Marching Band and Color Guard marched, twirled and played on at Friday night’s first RFH Football game. And the show was winning, by all accounts, just like the team.

The Bulldogs won the game handily and RFH Marching Band Director Sara Marino told R-FH Retro about the show, how it was done and all about the COVID-19 challenges and obstacles overcome.

“The band’s field show this year is Barry Hunt’s Beowulf!, based on the epic poem, and including themes from Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King,” Marino said.

The RFH Color Guard wore costumes to pair with the theme as flags were spun and roles were acted out on the field to the music.

Two guard members were featured in a Sabre duet, Marino said. One guard member is played the part of Beowulf with the other acting as the monster, Grendel.

And this is an ongoing theme. Marino offered a bit of a preview spoiler for shows to come, saying that “three band members will portray the dragon in an upcoming performance. The band is performing at all home football games this season, and participating in virtual USBands competitions. Tonight (Sunday) we’re filming the field show for our first competition!”

On the challenges faced in an unprecedented pandemic time, Marino said, “We will miss traveling for away games and competitions, but we’re happy to get to spend so much time on our home turf. We’re grateful for all the support from the Marching Bulldog families, the RFH Performing Arts Society, and the RFH administration, especially Vice Principal of Athletics and Activities, Chris Lanzalotto. We’ve also been impressed with the band members’ spirit and adaptability.”

Due to the pandemic, the band was not able to have its traditional band camp, she said. But, as with the sports teams, there were (Phase 1-3) workouts and outdoor-only rehearsals with personal protective equipment, including instrument bell covers, masks with fold-over flaps for wind players’ mouthpieces and drills that always keep band members at least six feet apart. In ordinary times, they march and play much closer together.

Marino added the the members do have some “pretty sharp” Bulldog masks.

“It was definitely a challenge to have less rehearsal time in the summer than usual, but we were grateful for the time we had, and we just adjusted our plans accordingly,” Marino said. “The students do wear masks at games when not playing, just like any spectator would. Some of them wear special masks with a fold-over flap to put the mouthpiece in for playing, then seal back up when not.”

As with sports, she added, band members and color guard are not required to wear masks during physical activity, but most color guard and percussion players opt for optimum safety and do. Everyone, she said, wears masks during breaks. Distancing is mandated always.

And that’s how the RFH Marching Band and Color Guard show goes on.

— Photos/RFH Marching Band Director Sara Marino and RFH Superintendent Debra Gulick

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management