When the Brick Township High School football team plays its first game at Brick Memorial High School on Friday, fans in attendance will get more for their money than football -- they will be the first to see the high school marching bands' new shows.
The 80 members of the Brick Memorial Marching Mustangs will premiere their tribute to the Apollo 13 mission, complete with audio from the original BBC broadcast about the aborted 1970 space mission and the movie starring Tom Hanks, according to Director of Bands Andrew Penrod.
"We try to pick a theme or concept and try to get music to portray it," said Penrod. "We start in January talking about concepts, listen to tons of music and settle on a show."
Penrod said they unveiled the show at an open house the first week of June and began practicing over the summer, including an intensive two-week band camp. On Friday, the band will march about half of the show. He said the full show will be honed and ready to be performed by their Sept. 22 marching band festival, which will feature 15 bands.
The Brick Township High School Marching Dragons have 52 members this year and they will perform Fiesta de la Campo, which translates to "Party of the Field," said BTHS Band Director David Lyncheski.
"I like the music, thought the kids would enjoy playing it and the audience would enjoy hearing it," he said. "I was looking for something to challenge the students."
The Marching Dragons began practicing their show in June and, similar to the Mustangs, had a two-week band camp to learn their routine and music. Both band directors said now that school has started they will practice three times a week, attend football games and participate in a full complement of marching band competitions.
Penrod, a 1991 BMHS graduate and West Chester University alum, said the band's big competition this year is the Tournament of Bands (TOB) Atlantic Coast Championship in Hershey, Pa. Last year, they placed fourth in that competition but had come in first the three previous years.
"Tournament of Bands is highly competitive for both the student and how we put the show together," said Penrod. "I like to challenge the students and I like them to be rewarded for their efforts. Being in TOB is one of the things that keeps me interested."
The Marching Dragons will compete in the U.S. Bands New Jersey State Championship at Rutgers University in New Brunswick on Nov. 4 and then the National Championship in Annapolis, Md. on Nov. 10.
The BTHS band also hosts its own marching band show, called Musicfest, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13. Currently, there are 10 bands signed up to attend, along with a performance by the Monmouth University Pep Band, according to Lyncheski, also a graduate of West Chester University.
The band directors said they are looking forward to the fall season.
"I appreciate the enthusiasm of the new students, increased enrollment and working with band staff," said Lyncheski.
"You get a vision of what it looks like and then see our vision come to life and what the kids get out of it," said Penrod. "They learn what hard work is. If they operate in life like they do in band, they will be successful."
New BTHS drum major Sydney Scelfo said she is nervous and excited to perform the show for the first time.
"I feel like we're going to do well with this show," said Scelfo, a senior who has been in marching band since the eighth grade. "It's fun, yet entertaining. Everyone, in general, is excited."