The 2007 - 2008 Somerset High School
"Blue Raider" Marching Band Proudly Presents...

The Somerset Music Department became notable under the direction and leadership of Dr. Robert Perry in the late 1960's. This was when Somerset got its nickname "Musictown". The groups available at that time were marching band, concert band, orchestra, chorus, glee club, show group, women's chorus, and string ensemble. This was also the time when the annual celebration of Musictown started. The Musictown celebration includes a Kiddies' Day (when the kids come march with the marching band), a King and Queen Judging Day, Concert Night, Pops Night, The Musictown Ball, and finally concludes with the Musictown Festival Grand Day. The final day starts with field show presentations by the invited bands and the Somerset "Blue Raider" Marching Band. Then the parade commences at 2:00 PM and lasts approximately 3-4 hours. Currently (2009), the Musictown Festival consists of King and Queen Judging Day, The Musictown Ball, Kiddies' Day, Pops Night, Concert Night, and Grand Day. Every five years Somerset invites Somerset High School alumni to perform with the current students in all of the music groups. 2008 was the most recent occurrence of this event.

Existing today in the department are the Concert Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, String Ensemble, Concert Choir, Treble Choir, "Blue Raider" Marching Band, Winter Percussion Ensemble, Winter Color Guard, Jazz Band, Chorale, and the "Electrify" Show Choir. Most of these groups have been within the department for many years, however, there are exceptions.

Though the marching band has existed for as long as anyone in town can remember, no one has ever taken the time to bring the show to competition. The "Blue Raider" Marching Band has made its triumphant return as a competing group in the Fall of 2007 with the introduction of a new director, David M. Marshall, into the department with their field show featuring the music from the Broadway musical "Wicked". The group as doubled in size within one year to 60 members and recently traveled to Allentown, Pennsylvania this past year to compete in the USSBA Northeastern Championships. They received the caption of Best Percussion in their division of 2A and also received the captions of 3rd best color guard and 4th best music. The group came in 5th overall in their division which is a major feat for this group in their first year of major competitive shows. The group also competes in the NESBA marching band circuit. This past year's show featured the music from the Motion Picture "King Kong" and the 2009 show has yet to be announced at this time.

The Winter Percussion Ensemble was also established in 2007 by Tim Sepe. This ensemble is a group in which students practice with percussion instruments such as xylophones, marimbas, vibraphones, drums, and other auxiliary percussion equipment with added guitar, bass, and keyboard parts. The 2007 group was a concert percussion group and they performed the jazz classic "Take the A Train" and the Miami Sound Machine classic "Conga". The 2008-2009 Winter Percussion Ensemble is instead being headed by Matt Cavanaugh. The group is now taking the leap to an indoor marching percussion ensemble. Their show this year is "Pursuit" and will be performed at many shows on the NESBA circuit this winter.

The "Electrify" Show Choir is one of the most popular and exclusive groups at Somerset High School. Instituted in the 2004-2005 school year by Michael Winslow, the group travels as a singing and dancing ensemble much like the show group that was part of the department many years ago. As there is no established circuit, the group travels to many area schools and performs in competitions. The group even hosts their own show, "New England Show Choir Classic". Currently headed by Richard  Sylvia, the group has consistently placed  alike this year and among the elite show choirs in the state having most recently won a gold medal at the New England Show Choir Classic. The pit band, directed by David M. Marshall, is also a crucial component to the group and have also taken home several trophies this season.

Somerset High School is also home to a Drama Department which overlaps the choral and band aspects of the music department. The community looks forward each year to the professional performance the group puts forward each year. Past performances include "West Side Story"(2008) and "Grease"(2007). This year the department will proudly present the musical "Side Show" based on the true story of conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton, chronicling their journey from the turn of the century 'freak shows' to the Vaudeville stage and on to Hollywood.

 


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