Tuesday, 17 June 2014 14:13

The Marching Buccaneers: Oswego`s Pride

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Band Director Scott Ciesla. Band Director Scott Ciesla. Submitted photo

     The Marching Buccaneers have a long and impressive history stretching all the way back to 1974, when it was founded. Competing locally and nationally, the band has brought a lot of prestige to the city of Oswego, living up to its motto of “Respect – Pride – Honor – Excellence.” 

     In 2013, the Marching Buccaneers went to Philadelphia to compete in the USBands Freedom Cup, where they won first place overall. This is merely the latest in a long list of achievements the band has accumulated over its incredible history. 

     The band boasts an impressive 120 students and according to Band Director Scott Ciesla, “they’re growing every year.” 

     Last Monday, June 9, the Marching Buccaneers had its annual orientation for new members. This year, the band put an inspirational recruitment video on YouTube and it is having the results they were hoping for. 

“It should be even bigger than it was last year,” Ciesla, who has been the band director for three years, said.

     June 17 is the band’s first rehearsal of the summer as it prepares for the annual Oswego Independence Day Parade. They’ll be marching while playing an arrangement of “America the Beautiful,” done specifically for the band by Nick Baratta, who arranges all musical pieces for the band.

For competitions, the music selection is done through a different process, with Ciesla choosing what will be performed. 

     “What typically happens is that we come up with a show theme. So this year the show is ‘The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,’” Ciesla said. “Once we come up with how we want the story to lay out, it becomes my job to find music that depicts this. If you give me an exact mood you’re trying to portray, I can do that pretty well. I tend to pick symphonic music, things that the kids are already familiar with.” 

There are also a lot of moving pieces when it comes to getting the band up to standard. A staff of 13 or so help Ciesla manage the large group of students with each member in charge of a different section of the band. 

     “We communicate pretty well,” Ciesla said. “I disseminate to a couple of certain people and then they send things down. We have an email list that we talk on.” 

     Typically the kids in the band march along with the music, but Ciesla said that marching is usually what the kids like least about it. However, there are many benefits the kids gain out of being in a marching band.

     “The biggest advantage that our kids get is that nobody can sit out. There’s no bench players, no replacements, everyone has to perform at the same level,” Ciesla said. “Other things kids get out of it is the dedication, the pride, hard work and the sense of accomplishment that goes with it, the discipline, they have to all these things and remember it, and it is all taxing physically and mentally. Of course they have to figure it out with school and maintain good grades. It’s all those aspects put together. Most of the kids who do the marching band turn out to be some of the most stellar kids in the high school.” 

     The Marching Buccaneers are a focal point in the Oswego community as well as being one of the most notable bands in the nation. In 2012, it placed 4th overall in 5A division at the USBands Yamaha Cup in East Rutherford N.J., in 2011 the Marching Buccaneers  held superior rating, best percussion, best auxiliary, and placed 2nd overall in its class at the Ohio State University Buckeye Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, and in 2009, it gained superior rating and Grand Champion Class A at the Parade of Champions in Harrisonburg, Va.

     The Marching Buccaneers are always looking to make the community proud in the future. 

     “It is one of those things that is uniquely Oswego,” Ciesla said. “We’re lucky to have a community that supports everything we do. So we want to keep pushing to be the best.”

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