RHS Band Trip


On Monday, October 22, the Benjamin Franklin 8th grade band took a field trip to the Ridgewood High School under the expertise of band director, Mr. Curcio. On this field trip the 8th grade students got an inside look on the music and performance of the Ridgewood High School wind ensemble under the supervision of band directors Mr. Haas, and Mr. Lukenbill. The wind ensemble is the most advanced band in Ridgewood High School. Moreover, the trip gave students an opportunity to learn about what band is like in high school, what the rehearsals consist of, and the required level of playing.

The BF Bolt Staff spoke with Mr. Curcio about the field trip.


Mr. Curcio, what are you looking forward to on the band trip to the High School?

“Im looking forward to the current 8th grade class seeing all the options for music offered to them as high school students, and having you guys experience the high level playing of the wind ensemble and the marching band.”


What brought you to teaching band, was it your passion for music or something else as well?

“My father was a music teacher so I kind of grew up with seeing and hearing him teach music and I just realized that the one thing I love in life is music and I wanted to try and make that my career- I played piano, then clarinet, and I finally played saxophone, which I continued [to play] in high school and college, and also when I was in 6th grade I started playing guitar, which I still play today.


Is there a long line of musicians in your family?

Not really- I think my father is the only one in the family who was a musician.


What do you feel is the biggest challenge with teaching band to middle school students?

Wow, the biggest challenge is probably to make sure, especially the younger groups, , is to make sure the technique is still there, and that they know how to play their instruments, and teaching them to also be motivated in regards to practicing and learning their music.


Is there a specific part of the field trip you are looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to having the 8th grade band sit with the wind ensemble and watch and hear them play their music.


What have your experiences been doing this field trip with previous classes?

Past experiences have been really positive, I think it’s a great trip, I think it’s just great that they have you guys be at the high school, seeing the marching band, and being in the band room, seeing the wind ensemble play, having the high school directors talk to you about what music classes are offered at the high school


Why is this trip done just with the 8th grade?

It’s just the 8th grade because that’s pretty much your next step, whoever’s continuing music in 8th grade at the high school, that’s the next step, so that’s why we do it with the 8th grade band.


Upon the arrival at the high school, the BF and GW 8th grade bands got a sneak peak of the Ridgewood High School after school marching band and their full performance. This piece is performed by the marching band every weekend and competed against other high schools during the football season. After watching the band, Mr. Haas and Mr. Luckenbill, both band directors at the High School, explained the routine of the marching band, and how they attended a band camp to learn their pieces and productions to compete. The groups then assembled in the small theater in the high school, where Mr. Luckenbill elaborated on the band experience at Ridgewood High School. He explained the different levels of band, being the symphonic, concert, and wind ensemble, along with their expectations, and field trip opportunities. Mr. Luckenbill also included the fact that band helps many high school students obtain scholarships for colleges, as colleges like consistent players who participate in band through most of high school.

The two bands then got to individually sit in with the wind ensemble. The wind ensemble played for the middle school band and gave some tips to the middle schoolers. The wind ensemble also got to play the 8th grades song “Last Full Measure (A Gettysburg Remembrance),” by Michael Sweeney, which some of them had also played in 8th grade. An 8th grade band member Cameron McDonough stated, “Hearing the wind ensemble play our music really gave me a different outlook on the music and, I believe a subconscious goal for the whole band to reach.”

In summary, the field trip not only showed the 8th grade band what you can do with music in the high school, but also showed them a very good reason to stay with music and never quit your instrument. Many former band players stated that they regretted not continuing band and wished that they had kept playing their instrument. This trip was a great way to show the 8th grade band what an amazing opportunity they have at the high school to continue band throughout their school career.