Having won their only three competitions this fall, the Belleville High School “Pride of Belleville” Marching Band is especially excited about its prospects at tomorrow's U.S. Scholastic Band Association New Jersey State Championships being held at Union High School.
Competing in the Group 2A classification, the 53 members of “The Pride of Belleville” are seeking the school's first band state championship since 2006 according to first-year band director Anthony Gotto.
“I'm pretty excited,” sophomore alto saxophonist Jessica Diazgranados said. “We've won first place in all of the competitions we've had.”
Since inheriting the reins this fall, Gotto helped further hone “The Pride of Belleville's” Cirque du Soleil-themed performance. With a talented cast of returnees, the director said, “I thought we had the talent to be able to perform this show at a high level.”
The band started off by winning a competition Oct. 1 at Verona High School. A week later, “The Pride of Belleville” triumphed at North Brunswick High School – a showing Gotto described as “just another level of performance that night that really showed what they could do.”
However, the band's finest effort came Oct. 15 at MetLife Stadium: Playing before more than 3,000 fans in a venue where the Giants and Jets play, they proved best in show once again.
“The highlight of our season,” Gotto said.
Until now. Belleville's Marching Band is looking not only to capture a Group 2A title, but also to score 90 or better with its routine so it can begin competing in the Open category – which Gotto said is “a better class of comp. It really show that you as a program are doing the right things.
“The kids have been full of energy this week leading up to (the state championship),” Gotto said. “They are completely soaked into this state competition and they want to do so well. I'm hop they can take the energy they have off of the field and apply it on the field.”