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Dundee bands claim another championship

GORHAM—For the fourth year in a row, Dundee is the Class C champion at the Gorham Pageant of Bands, June 1 and 2.
Bands and performing groups from 18 school districts competed in the 51st annual event. Awards were given out to jazz, concert, parade, color guard, twirling, and percussion groups.
The Scots also won several first place awards: marching percussion, color guard, and high school concert band. The high school jazz band and high school parade band took second. Junior concert band won third.
The individual groups competed on Friday, while the main event, the marching band competition was on Saturday. The marching bands paraded through Gorham, with people lining the street at the final stretch in front of the elementary school.
The different bands play throughout the year and Dundee’s music program can start the students early as performers. Director Patrick Dunham explained, “the real meat and potatoes of our music program is our concert bands. Kids begin taking lessons and playing in a band as early as fourth grade in Dundee.
“From this feeder program stems a variety of opportunities in instrumental music that caters to our hundreds of students. These include five different concert bands, two jazz bands, a brass quintet, a French horn quartet, Symphonic Steel Drum Band, a marching band, and a winter percussion ensemble,” he said.
Winter percussion begins practice in October and competes in the New York State Percussion Circuit (NYSPC) from February to April every year, culminating in a performance at the N.Y. State Percussion Finals. Dunham said, “students in this group truly drive our program to reach for excellence as they compete against much larger school districts such as East Irondequoit, and east Syracuse-Manoa.”
The concert bands rehearse throughout the school year, performing in four school concerts: a Veterans Day concert, a winter concert, a Music in our Schools concert and a Spectrum Concert. The high school band also performs for graduation each year.
The marching band starts practicing in late March, or when the weather starts cooperating. Students balance school work, sports schedules and marching band in the spring. Dunham said this means many students get to school at 7 a.m. and don’t return home until 8:30 p.m. most nights. The jazz bands practice from October to June.
“I place the credit for success of our program in Dundee with these dedicated students, their supportive parents, the amazing community, the residents of Harpending Avenue (where the marching band practices), an always supportive administration, and our pro-arts school board,” said Dunham.
Dunham himself also serves as an army bandsman in the 198th Division Army Band.
“I have had the distinct honor of being able to serve my country in a support role while being able to maintain a civilian job that I love,” said Dunham. “So far my enlistment in the Army Reserves has not had much conflict with my civilian career. My commanding officers make every effort to avoid conflict with school commitments. I also have supportive administrators at DCS who understand when I have to miss a day or two of school now and then for Army related duties.”

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