Forecast calls for thunder

Naugatuck High School marching band members Connor Reese, left, and Raymond Mercure practice Tuesday at the school for the Thunder in the Valley, a marching band competition. The competition is Saturday at the school. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck High School marching band members Connor Reese, left, and Raymond Mercure practice Tuesday at the school for the Thunder in the Valley, a marching band competition. The competition is Saturday at the school. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — The sun may be shining on Saturday, but there will be thunder in the valley.

The Naugatuck High School marching band is hosting its annual Thunder in the Valley competition Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the school, 543 Rubber Ave. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children.

Six high school marching bands, including Naugatuck, will perform their own routines at the competition. Naugatuck’s routine this year is “Dreamscapes.”

“It beginnings with an actress falling asleep, and then follows her journey through four distinct dream worlds. Each movement represents a different dream world with the finale transitioning into a nightmare that ends when the actress wakes up,” marching band Director Robert Hughes said.

Hughes said the preparations for the show have been going well and the band is looking forward to hosting a production without having to work around ongoing renovations. An $81-million renovate-to-new project at the high school was completed earlier this year.

“Everything is complete and we have a phenomenal facility to host other bands. That represents the Naugatuck community well,” Hughes said.

Senior Rachel Genovese, who is part of the drum corps, has been part of the marching band since her freshman year.

“It’s really nice because I don’t have to worry about construction anymore. I don’t have to worry if I am going to fall in a hole. My freshman year I almost fell into a hole,” Genovese said.

Thunder in the Valley has become a tradition at the high school, drawing schools from across the state to compete.

“It’s actually really fun. You go out there and put your heart into it,” senior Meredith Kummer, who plays tuba, said.

Genovese echoed Kummer’s comments, saying she has made friends with other schools while with marching band.

“We have to go greet the other drum majors, be nice, and then two seconds later we are competing against them,” Genovese said.

Hughes said the marching band is pleased to have the support of the school district, parents, and the community.

“Being able to host other programs on our home turf is a wonderful privilege, which has become even more fantastic with the renovated facility,” Hughes said.

It is not just the community that has taken notice of the marching band. The number of students who participate in the program has been growing each year. Hughes said this year the program has 80 students, which puts it in class IV.

Both Kummer and Genovese, who have been in the program for four years, said they joined marching band because they have a passion for music.

“It’s probably one of the hardest competitive programs to be part of,” Kummer said. “It’s honestly one of the greatest programs I’ve ever done. I suggest everybody do it.”