1999 Oswego Marching Buccaneers
1999 was a spectacular year for the OHS Marching Buccaneers. This was the year the Bucs went to compete in the Fiesta Bowl Competition in Phoenix Arizona. Our overall accomplishments for 1999 included 4th place overall in the Parade competition, 1st in music, and 4th place in the National Band Pageant. The Best Drum Major Award was awarded to Kristin Zaryksi.
We not only had a great time competing we had a fantastic trip! The Buccaneers rang in the new millennium with style despite fears of the Y2K bug. On a lighter note, after midnight on Jan 1, 2000 ...the Fork Bandits also revealed their true identities!
1999 was also the year that www.oswegobands.org was created!
Joe Wilber on the day of our last practice before the trip!
Looks like the fork bandits found the Grand Canyon!
Remember the Hula hoop caterpillers?
Fiesta Bowl trip to Phoenix, AZ
DAY ONE - Tuesday, December 28, 1999:
The day started out very early for some students, staff and chaperones who arrived at the high school at 01:30am(EST) for a bus ride to the Rochester airport. As many parents can appreciate while on a family vacation in the car, it was not very far from Oswego when the cries of "Are we there yet" could be heard from the back of the bus. The first bus arrived at the Rochester airport at 04:00am(EST) for an early check-in. All things went well and the group boarded their flight to Chicago and connecting flight to sunny Phoenix. The temperature in Oswego was a chilly 7 degrees how ever when the students arrived at the Phoenix Hilton the temperature was a balmy 74 degrees. Many, many students took to the outdoor pool ASAP.
The second group began their journey at the high school at 03:00am(EST) for a bus ride to the Syracuse airport. According to Band Director Bill Palange "Everything went like clockwork" Palange commented on how well behaved the students were with the airline personnel and other passengers traveling on the same plane.
The third group of students were the winners in the sleep category as band members began arriving at the high school at 08:30am(EST) for their trip to the Rochester airport. The flight to Chicago was a "windy" one to say the least. As Chicago truly lived up to its name during our landing. It was a good experience for a number of students who have never flown before. Upon arrival at Chicago, we were informed of a slight delay with our connecting flight coming in from Florida. The delay put us back approx. 1 hour. The kids were absolutely fantastic during this minor disruption as many students played cards, ate fast food, while some pulled out musical instruments and entertained the passengers in the airport. We arrived at the Phoenix Hilton Hotel at 8:05pm(MST) and quickly made our way to a wonderful Mexican fiesta dinner accompanied by a mariachi band
Following dinner and a few announcements, and with most students not having slept in almost 24 hours, the marching buccaneers collected their instruments and met outside in the hotel parking lot for a brief band practice. This was a great way for the students to "blow off some steam" and get thinking about what they are here for. At 10:00pm(MST) it was back to there rooms for bed check and lights out as a big day is planned for Wednesday in the Grand Canyon.
Top Ten List From Day One (quotes and happenings)
10 - Mel M. is leading the Quest for Quadisis Contest so far.
9 - Bus # 1 had to make a rest stop on RTE 104 just 20 minutes into the trip("I got to go NOW"!)
8 - "Hey, this airline food is better than hospital food"
7 - "I lost my trumpet does anyone have it? (we found it)
6 - Are we there yet?
5 - Vanessa V set off the X-ray detector a record 20 times with butterfly hair clips.
4 - Who has the can of Spam?
3 - The truck equipment made it!! We're going to have a competition.
2 - Ben H. and Liz C. were adopted by United Airlines as flight attendants for the day
1 - Oswego Temp - 6 degrees......Phoenix Temp - 74 degrees!!!
DAY TWO - Wednesday, December 29, 1999:
Here are some notes for the day from Director Bill Palange:
There's no question about it. A decent nights sleep has a very positive effect on your attitude. Tuesday was exhausting but filled with energy and excitement. The first flight group was scheduled to leave OHS at 1:30 a.m., so when I arrived I figured I would find people starting to make their way in. Wrong !When I arrived at 1:30, EVERYONE was there and rarin' to go. You could feel the energy in the hallway.
The schedule worked beautifully and with the help of Mother Nature we gotto our airports and on our ways in great time. Security precautions were very high, but that helped give us a good feeling of security. Students on all the flights were fantastic, and the airline flight attendents made it a point to let us know just how impressed they were with our students' attitudes and demeanor.
After a few delays, we were all rejoined at the Hilton Phoenix airport hotel about 8:30 p.m. (mountain time). Our Mexican fiesta dinner was complete with a mariachi band that not only played some traditional Mexican music...they also got us into some "tom-foolery". Let's just say that Mr. Pelc(Smedley) and I are probably going to provide you with a good laugh as a result.
We shook the cobwebs loose with a brief rehearsal after dinner that went great. We serenaded the patrons of the hotel with a preview of our Fiesta Bowl Parade music.
Today was just a thrill. I only wish you could have been here to see your kids faces when they stepped off the buses to view the Grand Canyon. Their faces told the whole story.
We left early for the log bus ride to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Past miles of cactus covered terrain, we steadily ascended from Phoenix (about 1000 feet about sea level) to the Grand Canyon (7000 feet). The change in the terrain is phenomenal. Leaving Phoenix you look up at the mountains from the desert floor, and as you go further north, you realize that you're actually driving across the tops of those mountains. As we reached Flagstaff and the final leg to the rim of the canyon, the terrain becomes almost perfectly flat for as far as you can see. At least, speaking for myself, it really heightened my anticipation level of what we were going to see. After 4 hours in a bus there was a lot of anticipation from everyone.
We met our booster group for lunch and had a great meal at the Canyon Inn. Then it was off to the canyon, As I said, the expressions on our faces told the story. There are just no real words to describe what this looked like. Now I know why it is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The enormity of the view is what most impressed me. I'm going to let your children try to explain this to you, and maybe you will begin to sense just what an incredible moment this was for all of us. It has been a fantastic two days and this day is not over yet (8 p.m.) We're tired of our us ride home and hungry too. So our stop Ed Debevic's can't come too soon. This is a really fun place, and I'm sure we will have a blast. The next three days are going to be grueling, but we are ready. I'll keep you posted.
A quiz for parents on Day Two events
DAY TWO Quiz - Wednesday, December 29, 1999:
Parents, family and friends, See if you can pass this Buccaneer Fiesta Trip Quiz!
1. When arriving at the Grand Canyon, Marching Buccaneers were overheard saying:
A: How long do you think it would take if we threw something to the bottom?
B: Is this where they play the Fiesta Bowl? Is this the Fiesta Bowl?
C. That's a RRReally Big Hole.
2. While looking at roadside vegetation, the kids said:
A: Can you eat the cactus?
B: If it takes 76 years to grow an arm on a cactus ...how do you tell if it's left or right?
C: How many Christmas lights does it take to decorate a cactus?
3. Which band chapeone/staff member did the grooviest dance in Ed Debevic's 50's style restaurant:
A. Rick Pelc's Jitterbug with Krysta
B. Dave Mayotte's Birthday Dance
C: Beth Lawless' Greased Lightning boogie
4. Which group takes the longest time at an emergency bathroom rest stop?
5. Which group takes the longest to appear at breakfast?
A. The Pelc Posse
B. The Longley Loungers
C. The Brady Bunch, Jackson Five, and The Partridge Family
DAY THREE - Thursday, December 30, 1999
The Oswego High School Marching Buccaneers continued their preparation and countdown to 2000 in the land of the sun in Phoenix, Arizona on Thursday under bright sunny skies and the temperature in the mid 70's. A record was broke this week, as the city of Phoenix has not received any rain for 98 straight days. The Marching Bucs had a day long practice for their final preparation for Friday's 1999 Fiesta Bowl Parade and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona National Band Competition which will be held on Saturday evening January 1,2000.
Members of the band and staff were reunited with Molly Galletta, formally of Oswego and now living in Phoenix. Ms. Galletta is a 1995 graduate of the Oswego High School, who played in various band ensembles during her time at OHS. Coincidentally, Ms. Galletta's apartment house was right in the backyard of the practice field where the marching bucs were rehearsing.
Band Director Bill Palange continued to praise the students for their stamina this week in adjusting to the desert weather as bottled water has been the drink of choice for all and sunscreen was spread on anything that moved. Palange reminded the students the importance of water in preparation of the 3.3 mile parade on Friday, as the balmy weather is expected to continue on into the weekend.
The band members were treated to a wonderful dinner at a Western Rawhide Saloon on Thursday, complete with cowboys, Indians and a bad looking sheriff. This was a time for students to dance, )walk around, listen to musical entertainment, and shop at the gift stores.
DAY Four - Friday, December 31, 1999:
The following news update was provided by Heather Sweeting and Mike Dunsmoor, both Assistant Band Directors:
Under partly sunny skies on a beautiful New Years Eve day in Phoenix Arizona the Oswego High School Marching Buccaneers stepped off in great style. The Buccaneers began their day in the Parade Staging area around 9:30 a.m. The anticipation in the staging area was tremendous as the band was quickly surrounded by balloons, floats, clowns, and the Met Life Snoopy blimp. After a brief warm-up session the Bucs arranged into parade formation.
The three and a half mile parade went off without a hitch. The first mile was flooded with media and national television crews. The Bucs were met with a great ovation as they passed the grandstand
which was filled with an amazing group of supportive Buc Boosters. Drum Major Kristin Z., a senior at OHS, did a superb job keeping the parade moving along, as did Percussion section leader Brian C. "It went by a lot quicker than I thought it would" said sophomore Sarah N. Most students expressed the same opinion but were really excited to see the water bottles headed their way at the conclusion of the parade.
Band Director William Palange said he was "tremendously pleased with the performance of the students in the parade on Friday. The kids did a great job representing not only the Oswego community, but all of New York State." Many former Oswegonians who have retired in the surrounding area came out to support the Marching Bucs as many old friends were reunited..
After the parade the buccaneers returned to their hotel for some relaxation. Although, some students still had enough energy to do more walking at the mall in the afternoon. Tonight the Buccaneers will ring in the New Year at a celebration with the other bands competing in the National Band Competition. The Marching Bucs will have a brief rehearsal on Saturday morning for their final preparation for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona National Band Championship.
DAY Five - January 1, 2000:
The Marching Buccaneers worked under the deep blue sky and warm sunshine in Tempe, Arizona today in preparation for their appearance in the Fiesta Bowl National Pageant of Bands tonight at the Bank One Stadium in Phoenix. Normally the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team, the stadium will be transformed to house one of the premiere band competitions in the country beginning at 6:30 PM (MT). Bands in the competition include Port St. Lucie (FL), Parkway Central ( ), Dickson (TN) Champlin Park (MN), Valley View (CA) Jefferson (IA) Corona Del Sol (AZ) and the Marching Buccaneers from Oswego, NY. Fiesta Bowl participants from the University of Tennessee and the University of Nebraska will also perform in exhibition as well as the Fiesta Bowl "Play It Again Band" . Opening ceremonies will feature the US Air Force Academy parachute team flying into the open roof of Bank One Ballpark.
The last 36 hours have proven to be grueling yet extremely exciting. New Years eve morning began very early in preparation for the Fiesta Bowl Parade. The parade is the centerpiece of all activity surrounding the Fiesta Bowl and the production of the event involves literally thousands of volunteers from the Phoenix area. National television coverage, live local television coverage as well as nearly 500,000 spectators jammed into the beautiful downtown area of Phoenix for this year’s event. The 2 1/2 hour parade was telecast live in its entirety on December 31st and will be re-broadcast on the Fox Network January 2nd.
The Bucs were the second band to appear in the parade, 13th of the more than 100 entries into the event. The students began their 3.5 mile trek down the long corridor of bleachers that lined Central Avenue to an outburst of cheers from the huge and enthusiastic contingent of Oswego parents, grandparents and friends that made the trip. The Buccaneers looked especially sharp as they came through the national and local TV areas, and proceeded to shine through the competition area, even after thirty minutes of continuous playing for the enormous crowd on-site. The Bucs finished 4th in the class B competition, 5 hundredths of a point from the 3rd place Thunderbird HS (AZ) and 3 tenths of a point out of second. Marshalltown HS (IA) was the winner in class B with a score of 83.85. Oswego received 82.35.
Preparation for the National Pageant of Bands was exceptional according to band director, Bill Palange. "Our pace the last few days has been phenomenal." He added, "I am amazed at the amount of effort the kids put forth this morning, especially considering our late night in Phoenix last night (New Years Eve). I am absolutely sure that the members of the band are prepared for tonight physically and mentally."
Palange gave a great deal of credit to the parents that have been working with the students during the week in Phoenix. "These folks have been nothing short of amazing. The care they have provided for our kids as well as the stamina they have shown day and night is just unbelievable." Palange said that often times he receives credit when it comes to the success of the Marching Buccaneers. "It continues to be true that our success is a combination of a staff that is gifted and dedicated to the children in the band, a group of parents that is behind them and the program, and, of course, dedicated and caring students."
Tonight's performance will be the very last for the seniors in the Bucs, and it will be an evening that will be highly charged with emotions. Palange said "I will miss these young men and women and our connection in this activity. Getting to know them and their parents has been an honor for me. But I couldn't think of a more fitting way to close out this season than in Bank One stadium with some of the best marching bands in the country, and our students and parents. It has been a truly fantastic trip, and I know these kids will remember this for a lifetime."
DAY Six - January 2, 2000:
Bank One Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona was rocking Saturday evening with the sounds of eight of the nations finest high school marching bands. The Oswego High School Marching Buccaneers stood among them in the 2000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona National Band Championship. Finishing in 4th place in the prestigious event behind Valley View H.S.:California, Corna del Sol:Arizona and Champlin Park:Minnesota, the Marching Buccaneers delivered their strongest performance ever in competition. After completing an exceptional rehearsal earlier in the day, students spent the afternoon resting in the hotel to prepare for the evening competition.
The evening began with the U.S. Airforce Parachute Team flying through the open roof of Bank One Stadium to the applause of thousands of marching band fans. The level of competition was very high among the participating groups this year. Oswego finished just ahead of the 1998 Fiesta Bowl National Band Champion, Dickson County H.S. of Tennessee.
A highlight for the evening was for Kristin Z. The Marching Buccaneer drum major was selected as the Best Drum Major in the Fiesta Bowl Competition. "Kristin is so deserving of this award" band director Bill Palange said following the awards ceremony, "She has commanded the complete respect of her peers through her consistent, untiring work ethic. I am very, very happy for her and her entire family."
The Marching Buccaneers returned home late Sunday evening from both the Rochester and Syracuse airport to the applause of many fans, boosters and family.