MH Marching Band Dominates Field with Their 2014 Show “Opposites”


“Morris Hills, you may take the field in Group 4 Open competition,” the announcer says at every competition. The award-winning Morris Hills Marching Band got bigger and better in the 2014 season. In the history of Morris Hills, the marching band has never been this big nor have they ever been a Group 4. With only three members above the minimum requirement to be a Group 4, they compete against very tough competition. The marching band marches onto the field with the Scarlet Knight pride and never fails to perform their hearts out. This year’s show “Opposites,” exemplifies the differences of light and dark, hello and goodbye, easy and difficult, chaos and order, beginning and end. “I got to say this year’s show is my favorite,” said Mr. Michael Sopko, the Morris Hills Band Director. “It’s different from traditional marching band shows.” The band tried their best to make phenomenal formations and use technology to enhance the “Opposites” experience.

The Marching Band had eight total competitions in 2014, two being at MetLife Stadium and one at Rutgers stadium. The band was awarded first place at the West Orange competition, ninth place at State Championships, eighth place at Yamaha Cup, and ninth place at Metlife Stadium for Nationals. They made changes in the show if needed and enhanced the performance by adding choreography, something that is new to modern marching bands. Mr. Sopko wants his band to become “evolved” and “escape the traditional way of producing a field show.” The band does this by using technology, narration, visual aids, and sound effects. The narration consists of some prerecorded voices as well as recordings from our very own Morris Hills students, Chris Côté and Megan Delaney. The Beatles song, “Hello, Goodbye”, inspired the second movement and many people in the stands often sung along with the band’s tune. The band was led onto the field by another Morris Hills student, Drum Major Carly Ellis. She looked back on her last season and said, “I felt very thankful and honored that I was able to be drum major of this band. It was an incredible feeling.”

The Marching Band goes on some fun field trips throughout the year. Every other year they go to Disney World and perform in the Disney Day Parade. They also get to visit each of the parks at Disney World and have fun with their friends that are in the marching band, concert band, and choir. The band is also featured in parades, performs at football games, and was chosen to be in the XLVIII Super Bowl Half-Time Show with Bruno Mars. Their next Disney trip is in spring of 2016.

It’s not just the end of the season but the end of marching band for a few of the seniors. There are 22 seniors graduating and leaving a big shoe to fill for the newcomers next year. “At the end of the season I was really, really happy,” Senior Dolma Sherpa said, “but I was really upset because I won’t be able to do the same thing anymore.” Many of the seniors are going to miss all the members they spent years with as well as the traditions that are over decades long. “I am going to miss the bus rides with the band,” said Zari Bell. Marching Band is not just an activity for most, but a way to make friends and to have fun.

Next year’s show is undecided, but Mr. Sopko has a few show concepts in mind. The program has opened up to 8th graders and they can march on the field along with the upperclassmen. The marching band is very welcoming and they look forward to any newcomers for the 2015 season