JACKSON – Members of the Jackson Memorial and Liberty High School Marching Bands came together to combine their talent for a special performance night.
The special event showcased the talent of the performers from both high schools. The musicians are dealing with the cancellation of many band events due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Jaguar Band Publicity representative Marybeth Learn said, “there was no competition season and barely any rehearsal opportunities but both bands did an amazing job!”
She noted it was a beautiful night when the two bands came together at the Jackson Liberty High School stadium. “It was an emotional and proud moment for families and friends to support and cheer these talented dedicated students.”
Learn said that students endured the limited rehearsal time they had very well. They also took care to adhere to the state health guidelines but it was “a tremendous accomplishment and they successfully pulled it off.”
It would have been a hectic competition season for both bands and in a typical season band members would have been traveling all over the tri-state area performing and interacting with many other marching programs.
Their season would have typically run from July to November. It helps build character, friendships, teamwork, camaraderie, life long friendships in conjunction with music and performance skills.
With the lack of these opportunities this first ever band night was developed through suggestion of the school district’s Supervisor of Athletics Robert Paneque. He suggested the idea to showcase both bands’ talent and their hard work to those residents of Jackson Township.
It also gave the students “a sense of normalcy in an otherwise very unorthodox season,” Learn said. A few months ago original field shows were changed which takes months to plan and a lot of new music had to be learned and memorized.
Learn said the Color Guard choreography had to be introduced and students learn very early that there are no shortcuts to success. “This year was no exception.”
Cooperation and perseverance were never as important as they were this year and it showed during the evening performance.
“The Star Spangled Banner” opened the evening’s performance by both bands together. That set the tone early on in the evening. Next, the Jackson HS Marching Jaguar Band performed their 2020 show “I’m Still Standing.”
Their show featured the work of pop music icon Elton John and filled the air with a fun and energetic sound. The band is under the direction of Jason Diaz and Eric Ficarra. Their color guard advisor is Caitlyn Ficarra and their drum majors for the season are Nicholas Morales, Troy DiStaso and Rebecca Lewis.
Then it came time for the hosts to take to the field with the Jackson Liberty Lion High School Marching Band with their show of the year. They opened with a powerful composition titled “Estancia” and finished with the popular tune “Can’t Stop The Feeling.”
The band’s exhilarating sound delighted the audience and its festive vibe topped off the night. The Liberty Band is under the direction of Scott Katona and Assistant Director Dr. Alan Kinsey with Percussion Advisor Jessie Katona and Color Guard Advisor Lyndsey Taft. Drum Majors for this season include Emma Kanis, Cheyenne Thayer and Ian Delapea.
As a bonus the bands teamed up again to bring the show to a spectacular climax with “The Hey Song” which is a tune heard at all home football games and is very familiar to Jackson residents. The song illustrates unity and spirit for a great finale.
“Everyone will agree that it was a night to remember,” Learn said. “It provided a chance to perform and be recognized for all their hard work and dedication. Many thanks go out to the organizers of this event, the Jackson School District, the band directors and the support of many people.”
Many expressed their hope that this might be the first of an annual tradition in the school district.