By Anne O’Connor
How cool is this? The Ayer Shirley Marching Band was a “Band of the Week” on WROR, the Boston radio station at 105.7.
Someone nominated the band and the station went to work.
The WROR Street Team shot pictures at a home game. They aired audio of the band the first week in October. The recording of “Build Me Up Buttercup,” was played twice every morning.
How the folks at the Boston station heard about the 15-month-old band is a mystery.
“I don’t know who nominated us,” said Jared Bloch, the marching band director. “It’s not me. I know it’s not one of the students, because I asked them.”
For Superintendent Mary Malone, the reason the band was selected is obvious. “They are just phenomenal!” she wrote in an email.
The marching band is in its second year. The challenge is to both march and play, which was new to all the Ayer Shirley students last year, Bloch said.
The band program begins in sixth grade, so students were not new to performing. Concert band is part of the curriculum during the day at the high school.
“The biggest challenge in starting a new marching band is the mere fact that it is new to everybody,” he said. In more established and polished bands, only the newest members are new to marching.
“There is a learning curve,” Bloch said. “It’s like any other activity you do for the first time. It feels strange at first.”
Last year the marching band had 24 musicians. This year it grew to 32.
With more people comes more possibilities, both for sound and visuals, Bloch said.
“It’s tough. We’re a pretty small district,” he said. “I keep saying that I’d like to get over the 50 mark sometime in the near future.”
“All you can do is recruit and recruit and recruit,” Bloch said.
The musicians are getting local exposure. The non-competitive marching band plays at home football games and other community events.
Bloch, in his third year at Ayer Shirley, teaches concert band, choir and music electives during the school day.
He praised the students and the community.
“They’re definitely very proud. They’ve risen to every challenge presented to them and they did it with a smile on their face,” he said. “We just keep trying to do the best we can.”
“We definitely appreciate it that people are enjoying the product we put out,” he said.
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