The jewel-encrusted Viking helmet has been stolen, and the Seaford High School marching band has a plan to recover it. The narrative will play out in real time during halftime of each home football games this fall, as the band will perform a piece they call “00Seaford” that they created during this year’s Seaford High School marching band camp.
This year’s show will feature music including Ant Man, Austin Powers, James Bond, Mission Impossible. The roughly 10-minute-long set will include theatrics, stunts, full choreography, and will conclude in a ‘familiar pose’.
Under the direction of band conductors Chris Coniglio and Anthony Romeo for its 13th consecutive year, the annual Seaford High School marching band camp ran from Aug. 5-9. The camp brought together student-musicians eagerly awaiting a new season of opportunity, and a stab at a brand-new routine.
“The kids have full ownership,” Coniglio said. “They decide the theme, and we, as the band directors, make sure it will work. Once we iron out that theme, we leave it to them. Everything is for the kids.”
Coniglio, and Romeo, were hired as band directors at the same time. Since their tenure began, their philosophies became aligned almost immediately: Hand over the responsibility to the kids and the result will be the full vision of the band.
“We find putting more responsibility in their hands, the more they learn from each other and make a great product,” Coniglio said. “Especially when we have our student-leaders basically running the teaching elements at band camp.”
What constitutes a student-leader isn’t merely a talent to play an instrument or a boisterous personality. The process to become a student-leader is one that Coniglio and Romeo do not take lightly.
“Our student-leaders must write the routine, they must conduct the full band, and it is a position that other kids can aspire to be,” Coniglio said. “Therefore we have a full interview process, we talk to their band-members one-on-one for real feedback; it’s a thorough process.”
These student leaders are assigned for band camp and are tasked with carrying their leadership duties over to the marching band season as well. Quite possibly the most important duty in the marching band is the role of drum major., Rising senior Pablo Hashem will fill that role for the second year in a row and look to lead the pit ensemble, along with his co-drum major Andrew Calvacca.
“As this is my second year being a drum major, there are things I worked on in band camp that I think I needed to improve on,” Hashem said. “Being a leader for this band, it could sometimes be hard because obviously the band looks at me as one of them, but I also have to lead them.”
Band directors Coniglio and Romeo appointed Hashem drum major officially, but the feedback from his bandmates during last year’s interview process is what gave Hashem the opportunity.
“I don’t look at myself as higher or more important than them at all. I approach them with the correct tone to lead and help where I can,” Hashem said. “Our staff and band directors can only go as far as the band will lead us. When everyone works together, it becomes better and more fun.”
Along with Hashem and Calvacca, there are other student-musicians that will be playing an integral role in this year’s marching band as well. Colorguard captains Onike Pinnock and Katelyn Winter will be leading the 2019 Seaford High School colorguard.
“The colorguard did a fantastic job, and they did it with no adult instructor,” Coniglio said. “Our colorguard kids write the routine, plan out costume changes, run rehearsals, they do it all.”
Without any adult instruction, Pinnock and Winter were able to create a full routine from scratch based around this year’s spy spectacular.
“Our color guard captains did a great job,” Hashem said. “I’m proud of the leaders that worked with me, and I’m very, very proud of the result.”
The wind captains Danielle Mascolo, Liam McDonald, Luke Sulli, Mary Pecoraro, and Joseph Abbate worked diligently with the wind section for this year’s large undertaking. The brainchild of the student leaders, the marching band, and the band directors will be performed, tweaked, and improved multiple times leading up to the Newsday Marching Band Festival beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 15 and lasting until Thursday, Oct. 17.
“We made it our show and now we get to show it to everyone,” Hashem said. “Now, this is where the real fun starts.”