Following their section leaders and instructors, members of the Saugus High School Band and Color Guard take their places on the school’s football field under the hot summer sun.
In one moment they raise their instruments, look toward their drum majors Maya Ruiz and Piolo Sanchez and erupt in music as they play the first act of their field show in front of friends and family.
Friday’s annual preview show gave spectators a taste of the band’s upcoming season and marked the end of the high school’s two-and-a-half week band camp.
“We ran band camp radically different than we did before, we did a lot of technique… and trying to get everyone on the same page and clean,” Band Director Jay Jarrett said. “Once we start school, we’re picking upright where we left off.”
This year’s band includes more than 100 students in 9th to 12th grades. The band’s instructors believe the group is the strongest one yet with skilled students, a larger drum line, a new staff, focus on visuals and a fun take on its field show.
“They’re going to sound really good this year. They’re bigger, they’re more focused, we have cream of the crop instructors this year,” Percussion Instructor Bob Grigas said. “It’s a brand new face for Saugus.”
This year the Saugus Band is also focusing on form and technique to perfect its posture and presence on the field.
“We spend a lot of time an a lot of focus doing fundamentals,” said Brendan Ristau, the “head field guy” who helped the band with marching and visual techniques. “We put in a lot of work; we push the kids to prepare for basics every day before moving on to the drills and camp stuff.”
Ruiz, co-drum major and Saugus High School senior, said the additional training and staff helped the band sound better and look better.
“We have a lot of potential and I only see it growing,” she said. “I’m most excited in seeing how this family grows, I see it every day in how we treat each other and support each other.”
Freshman Color Guard member Trinity Taylor said she also appreciated the family that she formed during the week as she learned the team’s techniques and routines.
“I like the family environment so we can grow together,” she said.
During Friday’s preview show, the Band performed the school’s fight song, the national anthem and three pep tunes: “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
It also performed the first and second movements of its comedic field show.
“The show title is called ‘The Good, The Band and The Ugly: A Musical Variety Show,’” Jarrett said. “The idea as we were putting it together was we wanted something that was ‘Saturday Night Live’ meets marching band.”
The show’s five movements include a grand opening scene, an off-kilter Western scene, a comedic “Romeo and Juliet” scene, a commercial break and drum break, and a scene base don the musical “City of Angles.”
“It’s the first comedy I’ve ever done for a field show so we’re doing wacky stuff, the music wacky, it’s fun and exciting,” Jarrett said. “There’s so much stuff going on in the world right now… So I thought something that’s zany and funny will be delightful and engaging and fun for people to enjoy.”
The students are looking forward to perfecting and performing their own original show this year as well.
“The show is our own show this year so we have a lot more things we can work on and do with it,” said senior Emily Ricktor, a tenor saxophone, player and section leader. “We can do what we want and build off of it.”
Overall, Jarrett is looking forward to a successful season with “the best kids in this world” and showing off the new side of Saugus High School Band and Color Guard.
“It’s going to be the same band we’ve always been but better,” Jarrett said. “Come check us out, watch Saugus. This year will be a year to watch us.”
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