For one, the band participated in four regular season United States Scholastic Marching Band competitions and won all four.
Weehawken defeated Middletown North's band at Edison High School to start the season, then went to Verona High School a week later and knocked off Pompton Lakes and Westwood.
From there, Weehawken High's musicians went to Midland Park and defeated bands from Hackensack, Waldwick and Westwood again. They then went to a competition at Bloomfield High and there disposed of Middletown South.
By that point, the Weehawken High band had accumulated more wins than any of the high school's athletic teams combined.
From there, it was on to the USSMBA's New Jersey state championships at Giants Stadium, where Weehawken locked horns with 50 of the best bands in the area, including bands from Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, states that don't have their own state championships.
At Giants Stadium, the band registered a score of 89.32 out of a possible 100, the highest score ever recorded for a Weehawken High School band.
"After the smoke cleared, we were ranked ninth in the Northeast out of 50 bands," said Steve Spinosa, the long-time Weehawken band director. "We've been going to Giants Stadium to compete for the last 10 years and the awe factor there is huge. But we recorded our highest score ever, so I'm very proud."
The band members were just a little impressed with performing at Giants Stadium.
"It was definitely breathtaking to play there," said senior Alyson Poggi, who plays the drums. "It was totally different than our regular competitions. You walk out onto the field and it's like, `Wow!' It was very inspiring and there was a lot of pressure on us."
"Yeah, it was definitely awe inspiring," drum major Sarah Introna said. "You're on the same field where so many great athletes have performed. We're doing something we love on the same field where the Giants and Jets play. It was wild just being there."
"You really can't put it into words," said bass drum player Alyssa Condello. "You get all nervous because it's Giants Stadium. It's an incredible feeling and it was a great experience."
A song for all seasons
The band chose to perform a series of musical numbers in their production called "Seasons of Change."
"We used music and color to describe the seasons," said Spinosa, who received help from color guard instructor Michelle Giorgio. "It's hard to be selective and find the right music that enabled the students to assimilate the changes of the seasons and describe the changes."
For winter, they performed the "New World Symphony." In the fall, it was a piece entitled "Into the Light." For spring, it was a percussion-based piece called "Solstice." And for the grand finale, the summer, the band performed the "Firebird Suite."
"Summer and winter were standards," Spinosa said. "The others were a little more classical and represented a challenge. But we tried to remain marching band oriented. I think they were able to grasp the concept pretty well."
Spinosa said that the students, 16 of whom are seniors, worked hard during the summer months, practicing regularly at Arricale Field near the high school to get ready for the competitions.
"With the instruments and the color guard stuff, we had a ton of equipment," Spinosa said. "We had to get the scenery on and off the field in a hurry, so our captains did an absolutely tremendous job."
Color guard captain Linet Beras said that the members of the band perform and act like a team.
"Maybe even better than a team," she said. "Maybe we're more like a family. We definitely work well together. There's a lot to be involved with in the drilling. There's a sense of doing well and winning like a team, but it's more of a family-type thing."
Seniors show their stuff
Introna said that she loved being a drum major so much that she quit playing the alto saxophone to concentrate on her drum major technique and routine.
"Because it was my senior year, I felt like I was a little driven this year," Introna said. "I like being the drum major because I feel like I'm leading the band. I take a lot of pride in what I do with the band. This was such a great feeling to do so well. It was our most successful year with the band. It's right up there with last year."
Introna said that she has enjoyed her time so much that she's considering joining the bands at either Rutgers or Seton Hall, two schools she applied to already.
"Being a member of the band has been such a positive experience," Introna said.
"It's such a huge part of my life," Poggi said. "I'm excited to be a senior and to have been able to do so well this year. We got the job done and did the best we could."
Condello knew that it would be a year to remember.
"I thought we had the potential to do well," Condello said. "It's the best feeling in the world."
Needless to say, Spinosa was pleased with the outcome.
"We did a lot more shows this year, because I thought the kids could handle it," Spinosa said. "We have a nice group of 16 seniors who gave their all and the other young ones who will come back in the future."
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com