The 2022 Marching Mountaineers

2022 Marching Mountaineers

2022 Marching Mountaineers

The West Orange High School Marching Mountaineers have recently finished their 2022 season. Throughout September and October, they performed in multiple football games and competitions. The last days of their competitive season were October 29 and October 30, where they performed in two large competitions, a regional championship on the 29th and a state championship on the 30th. This competitive season was very successful, as they won every competition in their division, placed 6th in the regional BOA, and won second in the state. Even though their season was over, they were still found at the football games supporting the West Orange football team.


Marching band is an activity where a group of students perform a show by playing songs on their instruments while maneuvering through a football field. This combination of marching and playing can be very challenging which is why the band has amazing leaders to guide members. There are many teachers to help them, many of which you can see working in the band room. There are also multiple student leaders who guide their sections and help members improve. Two important student leaders are Anestis Pavlidis, the Junior Drum Major, and Shea Donagher, the Head Drum Major (pictured on the ). They conduct the entire band and make sure that everyone is on time with the beat. With the work of all members, the marching band was able to reach great heights.

“Postcards From New York”

The 2022 show was titled “Postcards From New York”. The theme of this show was New York City and the visuals and songs were based on this theme. Some of the songs performed were “N.Y. State of Mind”, “Uptown Girl”, “New York, New York”, and “Empire State of Mind”. The whole show was a love letter to the city, and that is encapsulated by the music and visuals. 


During the band’s regular season, they won first place in their division at every competition. The band has competed in some amazing places around New Jersey, such as Wayne Valley, Phillipsburg, Roxbury, and Ridgeway. During the band’s final week, they won sixth place in the Bands of America regional championship. This was a regional competition involving bands from multiple states. This was the highest placement West Orange has ever reached. They also won second place in the New Jersey Marching Band Directors Association state championship. These are just some of the many amazing accomplishments of the band throughout the season.

Junior and Head Drum Major and Color Guard captains after a very successful competition.

Even though the band had many accomplishments this season, they also had some major problems. For example, they had a lack of members at the beginning of their season, with many spots left to fill. This led to new people having to be brought in during the regular season. One member even had to switch instruments to fill in the spot of another member who left that section.


Despite the setbacks, the band has been very successful this year. This success would not have been possible without the leadership of Color Guard Captains Magaly Cordero and Leila Abouelnaja, Junior Drum Major Anestis, and Head Drum Major Shea Donagher (pictured here below). Shea had lots of input to share about this marching band season, mainly positive things.

Shea Donagher – Head Drum Major

Interview with Shea Donagher: 

Q: What made you join the marching band?

A: He found interest when his sister came to Roosevelt Middle School to do their show. 


Q: What made you decide to become a drum major?

A: He was a boy scout prior so he learned a lot about leadership. During his sophomore year, his class decided that Shane had the most leadership experience and would be the best at being a drum major. He was also a good musician, but the best player in his section, the baritones, would still be playing, so it was decided that he was the most qualified.


Q: What do you think of marching band as a whole? 

A: He thinks marching band is super cool because it is an unexpected blend of worlds. It’s music and also athletic, even though he does not consider it a sport. Marchers play beautiful music while moving around a football field, which is an interesting combination. He also finds the evolution and history of marching band and the origin of military bands very interesting. 


Q: If there is anything you could change about marching band, what would it be?

A: “I would love to hear more string instruments in marching band”. He would love to have a double-bass in the front ensemble. Since they’re not heard as much in marching band as in classical music for example.


Q: What did you think about the 2022 season?

A: He is extremely proud of the band, as there was a large number of new members and the band moved really fast. He believes the band did really well and views winning as the least important thing.


Q: Did you expect the band to get these accomplishments?

A: He said that the band has previously done really well, so it is somewhat anticipated that the band will do well. He added that it was up to individual effort on how far the band can get. He expected the band to do well, but he’s amazed by how consistently the band did well and how far they reached.


Q: Is there anything you wished you could have done differently?

A: He said there were times he watched the baritones, which is the instrument he once played,  and he missed marching, but he realizes the importance of his job. He says it is a different job, but it is still very fun and, even though he can’t play, it’s still worth it.


Q: How do you think the marching band will change in the future?

A: He said he doesn’t now, but believes they will do well. He said COVID-19 had a large impact on the marching band because it impacted music in the middle schools. As more middle schoolers join band and stay with it, the band will get better as more experienced people join at a younger age.


Q: Do you think the marching band could reach the same accomplishments in 


A: He thinks it is very likely. From what he’s seen, Anestis, the junior drum major and future head drum major, is very good at his job. He is confident in the band under the leadership of Anestis and the future leadership team.  


Q: Will you support the marching band in the future?

A: He wants to come back for the invitationals because most alumni come back for that. He also wants to go to the first public marching band show after band camp, a week-long marching band camp. He said he might go to the competitions at TCNJ and Rutgers if he is available as well. 


Q: Do you believe that the marching band is appropriately acknowledged in school?

A: He thinks marching band is in an interesting situation because, even though it is really good, it is not talked about because it is niche. He points out that West Orange High School is a very artistic school, but doesn’t frame itself that way. He thinks that the band deserves more credit and mentions that the culture has been changing. There has been more appreciation, and he mentions the varsity jackets and announcements of the band.


Q: If no, how would you change this?

A: He thinks more people knowing about it would be helpful. Marching band is not extremely popular, so higher exposure and more people willing to join would help the band. He adds that marching band takes a lot of work, as much as other groups.


Q: Do you have any advice for readers interested in joining the marching band?

A: He says to not be scared. The band might seem very organized and everyone looks like they know what they are doing, but everyone starts out very confused. There are people who have done this before who can help new members. If somebody wants to try it, they should do it. He also mentions that it is a very fun activity with very fun people, so people who try it will enjoy it, they just have to be willing to try


Q: Do you have any other thoughts?

A: He mentions his history in the marching band. He’s been doing marching band for four years and he is the last Donagher kid to do marching band. It’s sad because this is the end of marching band for his family. However, he’s also happy because the band is in great hands and he is excited about the future.

The band performing their show “Postcards From New York” at the Homecoming football game.

Overall, the marching band is a well-accomplished and under-acknowledged organization. They have worked hard and have won many competitions. Some ways to show support for the marching band is by visiting their competitions and watching their halftime show at football games. This school’s marching band definitely deserves all of your support for the next seasons to come.