First Round Winners
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The Victor Marching Blue Devils have been performing and competing in and around New York State since 1982, starting in the smallest school divisions and growing into a National-Class Field Band in 2008. As the organization has grown, the amount of equipment used by the band has also grown. We had been using two converted school buses to transport our equipment until 2007, when we retired one bus and replaced it with a trailer. Our second bus traveled to the “great bus garage in the sky” this past season, forcing us to explore alternative transportation this year. Should we win, the grant would be applied towards a second trailer or truck which we will need to transport our equipment, props and uniforms to our performances.
The Victor Marching Blue Devils would be honored to be a winner of a Gear Up Grant. Marching Band combines music and motion, creating a visual and musical experience for the audience. It is no wonder then that it is considered to be the “Sport of the Arts”. It is a physically and mentally demanding activity that requires conditioning and precision. But unlike many sports, there is no second- or third-string. There are no substitutions. Everyone plays, and every part is equally important, both musically and visually. Our group this year has 115 students practicing several times weekly beginning in August and performing on the field this fall, once or twice per week from September to November. Many of our students will continue through the winter in one of our three indoor performance ensembles, which are also highly competitive (our Indoor Percussion Ensemble captured the 2010 New York State Championships and placed eighth in the World Championships!). The goal of the Victor Marching Blue Devils program is to help students grow, as performers and in life. The size and scope of the organization allows students to develop into leaders, exhibiting maturity well beyond their years.
While the Victor Central School District is extremely supportive of our program and the Arts in general, the expenses associated with a group this large, and with all of the musical equipment we use, are more than the District can provide. The Victor Band Boosters, an all-volunteer parent organization, provides funding and support in many ways to supplement the funding needed through various fund-raisers and coordination of many of the group’s activities. The band is a source of pride for the band members, the school and the entire community.
We were made aware of the Gear Up for Grants contest by a CooperVision employee within the community. We are truly thankful for the opportunity, as this program offers so much to so many students.
There are many members of the Marching Band who require corrective lenses. One of the keys to performing as a large group with precision is the ability of the performers to connect visually with the student drum majors. There are times when the performers can be up to 60 yards away from the drum major. Performances are judged not only musically, but visually and for general effect. Performing in the group requires the vision to align in formations with others, march with precision and play their music as directed by the drum majors, all of which requires visual contact.