The rain had finally let up and the bands were able to take the field on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Cranston Stadium for the annual Marching Band and Color Guard Home Show Competition.
Hosted by Cranston East for almost 50 years, parents and volunteers work diligently for months to make sure the evening goes off without a hitch. With close to 600 audience members, it needed to be flawless.
"I can't thank everyone enough for all their hard work, dedication and energy to make this night the success it is," said Greg Arsenault music teacher and bands director.
Schools participating traveled from across Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts and included Westerly High School, Somerset Berkley Regional High School, Oliver Ames High School (North Easton, MA), Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, Portsmouth High School, Dartmouth High School, Mansfield High School, Bishop Feehan High School (Attleboro, MA) and Cranston East.
Because East is the "host" of the event, they do not actually compete. However, they did perform their 2018 show Urban Pulse by Gary P. Gilroy.
The performances included Traffic Jam, Back Alleys, Dinner at the club, Evening Shade, A picturesque sunset and Bright Lights, Hot Nights-A night on the town.
The Emerald Encore members not only used their flags, but danced around and on the cafe chairs and tables that were part of the set. Band members wore black fedoras decorated with silver glitter to add to the "jazzy" feel of the show.
This year's drum majors were Bernadette Linsangan and Peter Vannini. The musical captains were Troy Santopadre for woodwinds, Griffin Martin on trumpets, William hardy in low brass, Jacob McClane for drumline battery and front ensemble percussion was Alek Roberti.
After East's performance, all of the senior band members come out to be recognized and saluted. This year's seniors are Joshua Deland, Roland Hanson, Bernadette Linsangan, Delia Maguire, Jacob McLane, Daniel Norridge, Alek Roberti and Peter Vannini.
Realizing this is the last time they will perform at a "Home Show" was emotional for the senior students.
"Throughout history, music has been a driving force behind change. We're very glad we let music change us," said senior Daniel Norridge.
Another East tradition is the bestowing of the Benny "Papa" Pagano award.
Arsenault presented the award this year to senior, Bernadette Linsangan. Pagano was a great supporter of the band program. He had three grandsons in the band during the late ‘90s and early 2000s.
“The student who is awarded the Esprit de Corps is an individual who demonstrates a positive attitude, ultimate commitment, enthusiasm and humility on a daily basis,” Arsenault said.
For the parents of the senior students, it is also a bittersweet moment.
"It's been amazing to watch year after year the children come into the band with little to no musical or marching experience and blossom into a finely tuned integral part of such a wonderful program," said Alek's dad, David Roberti.
Shari Roberti, Alek's mom, has been involved with CHSE music for 12 years. Her children participated in choir, Emerald Encore, band and winter percussion.
"In choir and in band, my children have learned discipline and the value of hard work. With my youngest child graduating this year, I will miss my "band family". Although, I am sure I will be back to volunteer," said Shari Roberti mom of three music children.
Roberti is also touched by the friendships her children have formed.
"My children have been part of a special group of kids, and have had the opportunity to make the best of friends and learn to be part of a group that is dependent on team work to get the show done,” she said.