Thunder rolling into Valley

NHS hosting annual marching band competition

Naugatuck High School Drum Major Wynter Tremlett, left, leads trumpet players Oct. 2 during practice at the high school as they prepare for Thunder in the Valley, the school’s annual marching band competition. The competition is Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

Naugatuck High School Drum Major Wynter Tremlett, left, leads trumpet players Oct. 2 during practice at the high school as they prepare for Thunder in the Valley, the school’s annual marching band competition. The competition is Saturday. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Saturday’s forecast calls for Thunder in the Valley.

The Naugatuck High School marching band will host the annual competition at 6 p.m. Saturday on the turf field. There will be seven schools in all competing.

The theme of this year’s show is Sherlock Holmes, Band Director Robert Hughes said.
The Naugatuck High marching band will perform music from the BBC series Sherlock as well as the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr. Both are based on the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

“The music from the BBC series is actually what inspired me to think that we can do this,” Hughes said.

In addition to the music the band has added something completely new to its performance this year.

“It’s a different show for us because there’s actually a mini storyline that accompanies the performance. We have two people who are full-time actors during the show,” Hughes explained.

The two student actors will be playing the roles of Sherlock and Moriarty, Sherlock’s nemesis, through the performance.

Student conductor Emily Griffin, a senior, said practices have been harder because the band has to incorporate the acting into the performance.

“There’s parts of the show where the band makes pictures on the field and the pictures actually move Sherlock and Moriarty around as they chase each other. Then there are a few members who interact with Moriarty, like the band member who gets his plume stolen at the beginning of the show,” Griffin said.

Griffin also has a part in the action as well as Moriarty pushes her off the podium.

Hughes said the show has been received well at other competitions the band has attended. He would like to see the community show up to support its local marching band.

“My hope for them at this performance in Thunder is that they really connect to the audience and really sell the show. We’ve been getting really positive reviews from other audiences and judges, but it’s a great opportunity for our students to perform for the home crowd,” Hughes said.

Hughes said Naugatuck High will be the last band to perform that evening, which will be beneficial.

“It’s usually a packed house by then and it’s a really good opportunity to sell their product and show the community what they’ve been doing and show off their skills,” Hughes said.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children. For the first time this year tickets will be available for purchase online at www.naugatuckmarchingband.com/thunder.html. Tickets are also available at the gate.

The event is also the largest fundraiser for the Naugatuck High marching band.

“It’s a huge fundraiser for us. So it’s a great opportunity for people to give back and support their local programs, just like they would by attending a sporting event,” Hughes said.

Hughes said Thunder in the Valley is also an opportunity for people to get a taste of the world of competitive marching band competitions.

“If you were to say I’m going to a soccer or football game, everybody knows what that’s about. The competitive marching band world is a little more of a niche activity in that a lot of people don’t know a lot about it. There are some misconceptions out there about what it’s all about. So I think it’s a good opportunity to support our program and raise awareness for the arts in general and the marching band activity,” Hughes said.

Griffin echoed Hughes’ statements, pointing out that the most people only see the marching band at football games.

“A lot of people are familiar with marching bands, but they don’t really know what we’re all about. They think we just perform at football games. They don’t know how competitive it is,” Griffin said.