Webster Marching Band honored

2 Dec

Four weeks ago, the Webster Marching Band did something the district’s band hadn’t accomplished in more than 30 years. On Oct. 31 at the Carrier Dome, the Pride of Webster blew away the competition and took home the title of State Champion of the Large School 2 Division. (Click here to read the blog I wrote about that.)

On Wednesday Dec. 1, the band was honored for that outstanding achievement with both an official proclamation from the New York State Assembly, and citations from the New York State Senate.

The ceremony, held in the Schroeder High School auditorium, was short but meaningful for the more than 100 band members, parents and staff who attended.

After a welcome message from Webster CSD Superintendent Brian Neenan, the band’s student and staff members were invited to the podium to accept personal congratulations from Supt. Neenan and Sen. Pam Helming, who presented each with a citation following the ceremony.

In her remarks, Sen. Helming recalled her own experience playing an instrument in high school, and remined everyone that among all the extracurriculars students can choose in school, “Band is one of the longest seasons there is. “You start in the spring…then parade season in the summer, then the fall, those intense competitions. It’s a long, long season.”

Next, Iris Bieri, chief of staff for NYS Assemblymember Jen Lunsford, came to the podium to present an official proclamation (which you can read at the end of this blog). She reiterated Sen. Helming’s remarks about the kind of commitment it takes to be a marching band member, saying,

It’s a tremendous feat and I think you should be proud it’s been so long. But on top of it you won at a time of extreme difficulty in our community, our state, our country, our world. You persevered through a global pandemic. You were dedicated, you worked together, you practiced day in and day out and you overcame the odds at a particularly challenging time. So I wanted to acknowledge that not only were you the first team in Webster to win in over 30 years, but in a particularly challenging time as well. 

Finally, Webster Marching Band Director Jerbrel Bowens approached the microphone, to a standing ovation. He, too, remembered his high school days, when he was a band member for Webster Schroeder.

He said,

I remember sitting in this exact room, in those exact seats which feels like forever ago, 2011, and I had the same dream that all of you had as a marching band member, and that is to win our class. I think there’s been many students sitting in these seats in this same room with that same dream, and you should feel extremely proud of yourself for accomplishing something that 30 years of students and staff have always wanted to achieve.

It’s bigger than you think it is. 

Bowens also put in a plug for his staff members and the parent booster organization which has supported the band 24/7.  

I asked him why he thought this year was different from his first year as director in 2019. What was it that launched the band into first place in 2021?

He thought that, having to take 2020 off due to COVID, he had the time to design a program tailored specifically for this year’s students. But I suspect there was something less tangible in the mix, judging from a comment he made to Supt. Neenan back in October.

“It was after the Autumn Fanfare,” Neenan said. “Jerbrel and I were talking and Jerbrel said to me, ‘I have a good feeling about this group.'” He was so right.

The trophy and proclamation will be displayed somewhere in the district. The proclamation can be hung permanently, but the trophy has to be shared; each year’s winning school can keep it only until the following year’s competition. Unless they win it again, of course.

And they will.

* * *

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Below is the text of the proclamation:

It read….

Whereas in 1983 band director Paul Magin created the Webster Marching Band, which only participated in parades in its early years; and

Whereas the band is made up of seventh through twelfth grade students, all of whom come from the four secondary buildings in the Webster Central School District; and

Whereas the band competed in its first NYSFBC competition in 1985 and has participated annually ever since; and 

Whereas the band has also participated in several national championships, where it has been a finalist amongst some of the top bands in the country; and 

Whereas in 2011 the band members were named grand champions of the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, and

Whereas in 2021, for the first time in 31 years, the Webster Marching Band brought home the NYSFBC championship plaque as well as their division’s Governor’s Cup; and now, therefore, be it

Proclaimed that I, Assemblymember Jen Lunsford, do hereby honor the Webster Marching Band for their strong work ethic and well-earned victory in the 2021 NYSCFB competition. 

2 Responses to “Webster Marching Band honored”

  1. villagehandworks December 2, 2021 at 11:54 am #

    Soooo Proud of these kids!!!! I’m not related to any of them…I’m just a Webster Community member who wants to share the excitement of such an amazing endeavor!

  2. Rich Chinnici December 2, 2021 at 6:05 pm #

    So proud to have had both our sons participate as members of the Webster Marching Band! Also thankful for the organization as a whole, students, staff, parents, boosters, and school administrators who help ensure this activity continues to thrive in the WCSD. Hoping this is one championship of many more to come. Keep up the great work Webster Marching Band! Excellence through Class, Style, and Pride!

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