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24 marching bands to perform Saturday at Fort Myers High

By Staff | Nov 2, 2011

Twenty-four marching bands from Lee, Collier and Hendry Counties will participate in this year’s Florida Bandmasters District Marching Band Music Performance Assessment Event on Saturday at Fort Myers High School.

Gaetano Ferlazzo, Mariner Middle School band teacher said the Marching Band Assessment has been going on in Lee County for more than 40 years.

“This year is the first time that middle schools will be performing the National Anthem,” Ferlazzo said. “We are getting the middle school bands involved because all of these kids eventually join the high school bands when they get there, so why not involve them now and get them excited about playing for such a large audience.”

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke will conduct the “Star Spangled Banner” with area drum majors during the event at 6:20 p.m. with the middle school students.

“What could be better?” Ferlazzo said about Burke being a conductor. “We asked, and he eagerly accepted.”

“It is a great honor for me to be asked,” Burke said. “I am really thrilled about the opportunity to do it and be able to work with the students; it will be a lot of fun.”

Burke will practice with a group of students at Mariner Middle School today to get some practice in before the big performance on Saturday.

Although he has never conducted before, he said he did not hesitate to accept the invitation.

“It will be fun,” Burke said again.

He will lead an ensemble group of musicians from Challenger Middle School, Cypress Lake Middle School, Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School, Diplomat Middle School, Mariner Middle School and North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts.

Sarah Hamilton, Florida Bandmasters Association district chair and performing arts teacher at Mariner High School, said the marching bands will range from 15 members to 300 members during the performance.

“There are a lot of students involved,” she said.

The yearly event typically attracts more than 2,000 spectators.

“For the high school marching bands, this is the performance that will be the most polished, both the music and the marching and maneuvering,” Ferlazzo said. “The audience will see these bands at their finest and the entertainment is memorable.”

Hamilton said each band will perform for seven-10 minutes in any style and genre they choose, which will be different for every school.

The first performance kicks off at 1:15 p.m. with the last performance starting at 9:30 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend the event Saturday at Fort Myers High School. The admission fee is $7.