It was a day of firsts.
On Friday, April 1st, Carrigan Intermediate School hosted its First Annual Pep Band Rally for 5th and 6th graders, as well as 7th graders from Bailey Middle School. For almost all of the 230-plus young musicians performing, this was their first live, in-person instrumental music performance ever. Also, for Carrigan instrumentalists, it was the first time they had ever assembled a full band.
“We must thank our amazing faculty, staff, and administration at both buildings for allowing us the time, support, and freedom to orchestrate such a huge undertaking,” said 5th-grade Band Director, Cassandra Marcella.
The schedule for the day allowed Bailey’s 7th Grade Band to debut their Spring Concert repertoire and perform it for the 5th and 6th-grade bands. After their performance, and a brief recruitment video/pitch primarily geared towards 6th graders, all three bands performed together to record some short ‘pep band’ style tunes.
To close out the day, Bailey’s musicians presented a poster signed by each member of the 7th Grade Band to commemorate the event. All Carrigan musicians will sign it as well and it will hang on display for all to see.
“So many districts lost/shut down their music programs during the pandemic,” added Marcella. “In West Haven, we were truly quite blessed to have our central office and Board of Education committed to keeping Fine Arts in our schools.
“They spared no expense to provide us with the state/CDC recommended musician PPE, allowing us to successfully implement the suggested safety protocols, and to continue instrumental music instruction safely, with very minimal disruption.”
Rachel Mekeel, Band Director at Bailey, was instrumental in putting the Pep Rally together. Following the state/CDC research and recommendations, she procured the vendors for the musician-specific PPE. During most of the 2020 summer, Mekeel designed and sewed prototypes of the recommended PPE, to be prepared should schools not be able to find a vendor to mass-produce them in time for the 2020-21 school year.
During the Pep Rally, Band Directors Marcella, Mekeel, Jacob Humerick (Bailey), and Matthew Lupoli (Carrigan, 6th Grade) also received help from their parent, guardian, and alumni assistants – Miranda Burrows, Alyssa Gant, Princess Togba, Mrs. Cappetta, Mrs. Malangone, and Mr. and Mrs. Powers – in facilitating all of the equipment movement.