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Thunder in the Valley Returns to Naugatuck

The Naugatuck High School Marching Band hosted a successful home-show last night, filling the stands at Veteran's Field.

Thunder in the Valley is booming with music once again after a one-year hiatus.

The Naugatuck Marching Band’s home-show filled the bleachers at the high school’s Veteran’s Field last night, bringing in funds for the marching band through admissions, concessions, and a raffle.

Last year, enough bands did not register for Naugatuck’s home-show for the band to make a profit. Thunder in the Valley made a successful comeback this year, with eight performing bands and an expansive, enthusiastic audience.

Thankfully, the weather was ideal for hosting a band competition. Thunder in the Valley is notorious for living up to its stormy name and being rained out, forcing the bands to compete in the gymnasium at a stand-still.

With clear skies and a dry field, the eight performing bands bands were able to execute their shows on the football field, where they exhibited their carefully designed drill, color guard choreography and musicianship.

“I would say our show was wildly successful, largely because we didn’t have any rain,” said first-year band director Robert Hughes. “The fact that it didn’t rain and we were able to get so many people to come out is really cool.”

In keeping with tradition, the 8th grade members of the City Hill Middle School’s band performed the Star Spangled Banner with the high school marching band at the opening of the show.

“I think it’s a really great experience for the 8th graders for them to get to see what the high school band is like,” City Hill band director Kathy Dravis said.

The City Hill band members also enjoyed practicing and performing with the high school band.

“It was really fun. The high-schoolers knew a lot about what they were doing,” said 8th grade City Hill band member Laura Adams. “I applied to WAMS for next year, but if I don’t go there, I am definitely doing the high school marching band.”

Naugatuck’s show this year is entitled Millennium, featuring selections from Walt Disney World’s Millennium Celebration. The tunes may be recognizable from the music coordinated with Epcot’s fireworks show.  

“I’m excited for the home show, especially since we didn’t have one my sophomore year,” said George Vygoder, a junior in the Naugatuck Marching Band.

The Naugatuck Marching Band will perform in a total of eight band competitions this year in Class III of the Musical Arts Conference (MAC). In accordance with MAC rules, Naugatuck performed in exhibition and did not compete at their home-show last night. At last week’s show hosted by Brookefield Naugatuck scored a 69.20, and as the only member of their class, took 1st place.

At last night’s competition, 4 bands competed in Class II and 2 bands competed in National Class. Bethel won Class II with a score of 75.3 while Trumbull won National Class with a score of 85.70.

The University of New Haven Marching Band performed with Naugatuck in exhibition.

The scores given to the bands are the result of careful evaluation of five MAC judges that evaluate the visual and auditory effect of the performances.

“I’m absolutely amazed at the talent of all the participants, with preference of course to our own marching band,” said Naugatuck High School principal Janice Saam. “They’re a very talented group of performers. From the choreography to the costumes, it’s a great show. I’m very proud to be representing Naugatuck High School.”

Hughes has an optimistic view on the remainder of the MAC marching band season.

“It’s been a lot of fun and we have a lot of potential for the season,” Hughes said. “The kids work very hard and I appreciate that, and in time they will be met with great success.”

citizen September 26, 2011 at 03:16 PM
This was a great event, thank you to all who attended! The Naugatuck Band and Color guard job did a great job, I am very proud of them.
BJ Forlenzo September 26, 2011 at 04:33 PM
It was a pleasure to go and support the NHS Marching Band. It was the first time I got to be a spectator at NHS show instead of being a working Brien McMahon Band Parent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The incredible sunset added to the "Thunder in the Valley". We wish nothing but the best for Bobby Hughes and his band - they were off to a good start seeing this was only the 2nd show of the season.
Kimberly Wilson September 26, 2011 at 05:16 PM
As an alumna of the marching band, it's great to see the dedication and hard work the director and students are putting into the program. Good luck with the rest of the season Naugy!
Nancy Sasso Janis September 27, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Great article, Kimberly and beautiful photos, Fran.Thanks to you both for covering this wonderful event. I was able to find my CHMS percussion player/son in a few photos and myself in one of the crowd photos.

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