After a season of wins, Roslyn High School’s Marching Bulldogs stormed into Syracuse this weekend and came home with the state championship trophy.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come. I stand on the podium, so I’ve seen from band camp when we first learned the drill all the way to the Dome,” Roslyn senior and drum major Megan Tsao said. “You see the formations getting cleaner, see people getting into step, hear the sounds getting cleaner. It’s amazing to experience the development.”
The marching band won its second New York State Field Band Conference Championship in three years. A win in 2015 was the school’s first.
Tsao said the group of about 100 students was nervous heading into the weekend with a competition in Phoenix, New York, on Saturday before the championship performance Sunday with 51 other bands and more than 5,000 students competing.
During its final Long Island contest in Mineola, the band’s score dropped slightly though the band still claimed victory, and Tsao said the biggest competition, Floral Park, was steadily improving and adding to its show as the season neared the end.
Once the group got into rehearsals for its “Above the Clouds” show in Syracuse, however, President Marcus Edelstein said the feeling changed.
“Everyone heard what we sounded like when we were in that last rehearsal, and we knew right there, in that moment, we’re going to win this,” Edelstein said.
The band won six competitions this year, including tournaments in Brentwood, Copiague, Sachem and Mineola before the two in upstate New York. Roslyn edged out Floral Park by 15 hundredths of a point for the championship win with a final score of 80.850.
Senior drum major Josh Fried said he dreamed of being in the Marching Bulldogs as a child and will miss the band family after graduation in June.
“I feel like everyone has that one big thing they look forward to every year, and for me, that’s Syracuse,” Fried said. “Going from sitting on a bus with your best friends to a serious competition setting, it’s a blast.”
Once the class of 2018 leaves the band, junior and band Vice President Jayna Kurlender said the group will need a dedicated crop of incoming freshmen to help fill the hole. Kurlender said she is hopeful for next year’s show, which is rumored to have more special effects and possibly switch the band uniforms for costumes.
“In 30 years, if someone says ‘band, ten-hut,’ I will still snap to attention,” Kurlender said. “It stays with you. You’ll never forget being on the Dome field hearing your band named first in the state.”