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“Mountain of Fire” coming to Shepherd Hill High along with sharp new uniforms

By Janet Stoica

On Saturday, October 13, be prepared for a marching band show that will knock your socks off.

The Shepherd Hill Regional High School Marching Band, recipient of many awards, including most recently the 2017 USBands National Championship, under the leadership of Director David Macuga, will host a magnificent show of rousing musical inspiration at its football field located at 68 Dudley-Oxford Road in Dudley from 6-9 p.m.

Tickets (priced at $8/adults and $5 senior citizens/students) are available at the gate on show day. The high school gym will be used in the event of rain. The festival will include a total of 10 area high school marching bands and is always a crowd pleaser.

In keeping with their chosen volcanic theme, Mountain of Fire, the band’s musical selections will include Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Frank Ticheli’s instrumental piece, Vesuvius, as well as Earth Song. The evening promises to be quite a show of shows and why not? This amazing group of dedicated band members and their director have awards and traditions to celebrate along with their outstanding reputation. 

An extra-special motivation to attend this exciting event is to check out the band’s new sharp and sophisticated uniforms. After 15 years of maxing out their previous uniforms’ style, the group was able to secure new regalia through the generosity of funding from the school district, Schwartz Charitable Foundation, Janet Malser Humanities Trust, and the Dudley Cultural Council. Their new attire is precise and very well-defined with the maroon and white school colors. It must definitely be seen by anyone who appreciates distinctive attire while listening to a well-rehearsed marching band.

“We unveiled our new uniforms at our 2018 Spring Pops Concert,” said David Macuga.“The band members came out marching and playing an inspiring version of the song 76 Trombones from the acclaimed musical The Music Man in tandem with the multi-talented Shepherd Hill Choir. It was spectacular.”

Several generations of students had benefitted from the former uniforms but when the time neared for new apparel, the Fred J. Miller Company was called upon for style, pageantry, and assistance. “Based on the ideas we had and wanted, FJM sketched out designs for us. We wanted outfits that would shine under the football field lights,” said Mr. Macuga, “adjustments were made for color and accessories. The end result was nothing short of spectacular.” FJM provided measurement charts with video instructions and after a total of 10 final measurements per band member, the information was forwarded along to FJM.

When asked how the uniforms can be passed down through multiple years of usage, Mr. Macuga not only elaborated on the process of dry-cleaning but also described how slacks are re-hemmed as necessary, and jacket adjustments are made. “Every year we’ll refit our band members to ensure comfort and best match,” he said. “The uniform includes black slacks, jacket, and hats with plumes. The uniform cost is about $300 each and with a life of about 15 years, we certainly get our money’s worth out of them. Our new gear is certainly sharp and impressive, and we invite everyone to check us out at our October 13 festival.”

Mr. Macuga noted that the concession stand, run by “our awesome music parents’ association, will be running at full-tilt, selling their ‘world famous’ hand-cut French fries and other delicious food along with hot coffee and soda. This is going to be a great show.”

David Macuga is not only the school’s band director and instrumental teacher but his other responsibilities include teaching percussion, color guard training, special education music class, and guitar introduction. He is a 2006 graduate of Shepherd Hill High School, a graduate of Worcester State University, and previously volunteered for Shepherd Hill’s marching instruction and music.