Alvirne band, color guard wow crowd at the Salem Band Show

There’s no doubt that football season is one of the most anticipated times of the year at Alvirne High School. That’s because, just like it is at other high schools, Alvirne football games aren’t just about football.

At the start of halftime, the spotlight turns to the Alvirne High School Marching Band and Color Guard, the proud, 100-plus-member force led by Hudson’s own district music director Gerry Bastien and color guard director Cara Sevigny.

Nights like these are of critical importance to the students, and not just because they’re full-fledged performances. As every band and color guard member knows, these smaller performances are all leading up to something much bigger: the 2016 Salem Band Show.

If someone told you to imagine a football game without any football, you’d probably think they’re crazy, but that’s exactly what the Salem Band Show is. On one fateful October night, bands from all across New Hampshire come to Salem to perform their marching shows and watch all the other schools perform theirs.

Each year, upward of 2,000 students and spectators pour into the stands to watch the marching magic unfold. Waves of applause roll over the stadium, the cadence of the drumline crashes down like thunder, and the sound of brass and wind cuts like lightning through the air.

Not a single scoreboard buzz can be heard, not a single penalty is called, and there are certainly no time-outs.

When Alvirne headed out on Oct. 8 for the 2016 Salem Band Show, they were determined to do their very best. It was a long day for students, beginning with marching rehearsal in the morning and ending with the band’s performance at night.

This year’s Alvirne marching show is a real tour de force, a tribute medley of songs by deceased rock artists appropriately titled "RessuROCKtion."

Students from marching bands statewide cheered, whistled and applauded wildly as the band and color guard marched and twirled in time to Jimi Hendrix’s "Fire," stepped into the formation of a V-neck guitar during Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" and performed pop superstar Michael Jackson’s iconic "Thriller" dance.

The show was a real hard-hitter, and Alvirne came away that day as one of the crowd favorites.

"It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced, especially because of the size of the crowd," said senior drum major Kylie Marcotte. "We had a standing ovation as soon as we finished our show, and I don’t think I had ever been more proud of the band than in that moment."

While Salem may be over, the football season is not. The band still has the final Senior Night/Halloween game to look forward to before saying goodbye to this year’s seniors and prepping for next year.

Bradley Garcia is a senior at Alvirne High School in Hudson.