The Roslyn High School marching band was the ultimate goal for Josh Fried growing up.
“I’ve been hearing the marching band since I was a little kid, and every Wednesday night I’d watch them practice,” Fried said. “Not only did I get to see then perform these really cool shows, I got to see the family that it turns into. It’s always been a dream of mine to be part of that.”
Now a drum major for the Roslyn Marching Bulldogs, Fried, who plays tenor saxophone, said the biggest appeal for the group is the immediate feeling of family, spending hours before school starts in August and more through the semesters practicing, competing and performing at football games.
“I wanted to join because I saw the community that the seniors before us had, and it was very appealing to me,” drum major and clarinet player Lauren Christenson said. “It’s nice to know people before you come in on the first day of school.”
This season, the Marching Bulldogs are off to a stellar start, taking home first place in their first two competitions this season, the Brentwood Invitational Competition Sept. 17 and the Copiague Tournament of Bands Competition Sept. 24, under the leadership of new band director Frank Mauriello.
The band has earned the high score in the state at both tournaments and has won categories including field music, ensemble music, field visual and ensemble visual.
This season, the Roslyn marching band is performing a flight-themed show called Above the Clouds. The color guard sports flight attendant attire while the drum majors mimic pilots, leading the band around the field with suitcases in hand and fluffy clouds in the background.
“I wanted a theme that would read well,” Mauriello said of his first Roslyn show. “If anyone was in the stands at any given time, they’d know we’re the band doing the flight show. You don’t have to sell the show to the judges, so it comes across as effective because it’s understandable.”
Mauriello also teaches symphonic band, wind ensemble, jazz band and instrumental music lessons at Roslyn High School.
The band won the state championships in 2015, and Fried said the band is looking forward to a shot at a second win in two years.
“Everyone’s mindset has changed, seeing the creativity that people can have in any given moment on the field,” Fried said. “After our first competition, I think people really saw that we could really win, and that set people on a straight path to working hard.”
Mauriello said the band has two more local competitions in Sachem Oct. 15 and Mineola Oct. 21 before the band takes over the Carrier Dome field at Syracuse University Oct. 29 for the New York State Field Band Conference Championships.
“There’s nothing like the feeling when you walk into the Dome,” Christenson said. “When you walk into that stadium and all the lights are so bright and you know you’re about to perform, everyone’s nervous, but you’re in that mindset and you’re ready to go.”
While the band is grateful to their new leader, Mauriello said all of the band’s success boils down to the dedication of the members.
“The students are really committed here. They really put in a lot of time and effort, and they buy into everything we’re doing. They love it,” Mauriello said. “The social aspect of this activity goes a long way, but I think they bought into the show as well.”