The Buccaneer Band has been a busy group as of late with weekend trips to Chiefland, Fernandina Beach and Tallahassee. After visiting with the band this past week, I noticed that the trophies are starting to mount.
Following the Fernandina Beach trip, the band came back with a lot of hardware. The biggest prize went to Sandra Nelson for superior with distinction drum major. Sandra thought she was being overlooked after they announced the superior drum majors, but that quickly changed after they announced her name for superior with distinction.
The band overall was rated superior, and scored best in class in music, general effect, visual and percussion, and lined up with the other participating bands to collect quite a bit of hardware.
Branford was one of eight bands chosen in the preliminaries for finals competition, and finished seventh overall. They finished first in the class "A" division.
The trip to Tallahassee was more for an assessment. The Bucs were rated an excellent, with superiors in three categories, and two excellent in another outstanding performance.
The Branford band only loses seven members to graduation, but has 17 sixth graders being considered to move up in 2005. Along with that growth comes more financial commitment. The band will be holding fund-raisers in the next couple of months. In November, they will have a Krispy Kreme donut sale; a Little Caesar's fund-raiser in December, and a possible band-a-thon in the spring.
The Buccaneer band will also be busy in December as they will march in the Bell parade along with a second commitment that same day and follow the next weekend in Branford for their Christmas parade.
The jazz portion of the band will also be performing at the school superintendent's retirement party Sunday, Nov. 7.
I had a chance to spend an hour with the band this past week, and must say, I understand Carl Manna's excitement toward this group. This is a very tight group that appreciates the friendships they have made during their hard work toward the success they have enjoyed. Most of the band members agreed that the work to get where they are at now was not fun, but the rewards are making it worth the while. They all gave credit to their instructor for pushing and believing in them. According to one member, Mr. Manna never criticizes, he just keeps building us up, and makes us understand our potential. Of course Mr. Manna had the same reaction to his members as he appreciates the dedication of this band to focus on their specialty. From my perspective as a correspondent, the one fact that stuck out with this group, including Mr. Manna, was the bond of respect that they share with each other. It was very easy to conclude that they enjoy spending time with each other, as well as competing together as a group.
I did ask the question if they noticed the difference in the crowd reaction now compared to when they first started. They acknowledged that they now feed off the crowd's energy. Most of the people in the stands now stick around in the stands and support us and start cheering halfway through the performances. It really makes this group proud.
There are four color guard members in this year's band, but Mr. Manna is hoping to increase that number next year. The guard members this year are very proud of the accomplishments and improvements they have made. They are really getting into it, and have fun entertaining the crowds.
The purpose of my visit with the Buccaneer band was to let them know just how proud we are of each of them and let them know just how well they represent Branford High School based on other schools positive impressions. They are sure a fun group to watch as they just keep getting better each year. This is really a program on the rise. The community needs to stand up and really take notice and support their fundraising efforts. In return, we are going to be proudly rewarded due to their hard work, now and in the future with a strong unit that represents Branford in such an outstanding manner.