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October 2, 2013

Band-A-Rama gets in formation

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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Drum majors and field commanders from the four high schools gather on Runkel Field at Stevenson High School.

The brass and drums will be out in force this month as four Utica Community Schools high school marching bands unite to demonstrate their musical showmanship.

Stevenson High School will host its Band-A-Rama 2013 event Oct. 6. During the event, the marching bands of Stevenson, Ford, Eisenhower and Utica high schools will perform their unique halftime shows on Stevenson High School’s Runkel Field.

According to school officials, the event will give parents, students and other community members a preview of the performances that the bands will enter into competition this school year.

Michael Sekich, Stevenson band director and districtwide fine arts co-chair, said the school district has held the Band-A-Rama event for around 30 years. He said a show of this scale takes months of preparation and lots of teamwork.

“We start essentially preparing for this event, getting it organized, by June,” he said. “When everyone else is closing down, we’re starting up for the next year.”

Sekich explained that the marching band presentations have evolved to be less like a typical music concert and more like an onstage musical, with instruments.

“It’s really theatrical,” he said. “The choreography, the theme are making you feel like you are in Las Vegas, making you feel like you are at the beach, making you feel like you’re watching a James Bond (film). … It’s visual.”

Altogether, more than 550 students will perform throughout the event, and all will unite in a rendition of the national anthem, he said.

Stevenson senior and Titan marching band member Michael Pacholski said he plays baritone in the lower brass section. He called Band-A-Rama a great experience because it gives the different bands a chance to see how much everyone has improved.

“I am a drum major for the band, as well,” he explained. “It’s really cool to see all the other drum majors for the schools and see what the experience was like for them.”

Pacholski said the Stevenson band’s “Vegas, Baby!” theme includes songs like Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Michael Bublé’s rendition of “Fever,” Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

The Utica High Chieftain marching band is set to perform “Bond James Bond” featuring 007 themes, the Eisenhower Marching Eagles will perform “Legends of Rock,” and the Henry Ford II Falcon marching band will present “Life’s a Beach!”

According to Sekich, this year’s Band-A-Rama will showcase brand-new uniforms for the Stevenson and Utica bands. The other two high schools expect to get new uniforms next year, he said.

“The old ones lasted 14 years, which is a long time,” he said.

The Utica Community Schools Instrumental Music Department will celebrate Band-A-Rama 2013 at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at Stevenson High School, 39701 Dodge Park Road, in Sterling Heights. Admission is $5 for people high school-age and older. All proceeds will go to the Louis Gonda Memorial Music Scholarship Fund.

Learn more about the Utica Community Schools at www.utica k12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.