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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Local high school bands lauded at Newsome festival

LITHIA – After spending countless hours in the sweltering heat of summer perfecting their routines, 10 area high schools recently had a chance to show off their efforts, when the Newsome High School Wolfpack Marching Band hosted its annual marching band festival.

“It was great to see so many talented bands participating,” said Denise Melone, a band booster parent and spokeswoman for the Newsome High School Wolfpack Marching Band. “These are all kids who work so hard but get so little recognition.”

As the host school, the Newsome band did not compete in the festival. However, the band, under the supervision of its new director, Michael J. Miller, treated the crowd to its newest production, “Immortal,” based on the music of Ludwig van Beethoven.

“‘Immortal’ uses such pieces as ‘Symphony No. 7’ and the ‘Pathetique Sonata’ to depict the eternal unrest of a group of vampires (played by the color guard),” said Miller, who previously served as assistant director of bands at Robert Vela High School in Edinburg, Texas.

“It’s like a Broadway play,” said Melone. “Mr. Miller is truly inspiring talent in this band.”

She added that the 123-member Newsome band spent up to 25 hours a week during summer break perfecting its performance of “Immortal.”

The Newsome band director holds a master’s degree in music in instrumental conducting from the University of Florida and served as a conducting drum major and trumpeter for the renowned Boston Crusaders Drum and Bugle Corps.

Competing at the Oct. 26 festival at the Newsome High School football stadium were Silver Class bands from Chamberlain, Trenton and Spoto high schools, with Spoto taking first place for the second year; Gold Class bands from Leto, Springstead, Wharton and Weeki Wachee high schools, with Springstead earning first-place honors; and Platinum Class bands from Riverview, Gaither and Robinson high schools, with Gaither taking top honors.

The high school marching bands were rated by a panel of experts for their musical talent and visual performance and effects.

D’Ann Lawrence White is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]

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