The Cicely Tyson Community Schools Marching Band
still has no uniforms, but they dress uniformly in black and
white using their own clothes so they can play at the Half-Time
Show in the game between the East Orange Jaguars and the
Irvington Blue Knights on Saturday afternoon, 9/19/09. How they
got to this point is our story below.
The time is 11:00 AM. The band has already
assembled, marched outside, tuned up and practiced the Star
Spangled Banner several times by the time this reporter and
photographer shows up.
The band is then brought inside the school band
room for a quick breakfast provided by the Band Parents'
Association and served up by Jackie Tomlinson (standing Left) and
Michelle McCoy (standing Center) to an orderly line of hungry
band members (R).
The egg sandwiches, donuts and fruit juices are
quickly consumed, the band gets a bathroom break and then lines
up again in the school parking lot.
After a brief period of light stretching
exercises, the band is ready for the march across East Orange to
the Paul Robeson Stadium. The children in the front carry a
banner made by Ms Tomlinson for the occasion, since the official
school banner has not yet arrived.
The band receives a police escort from the East
Orange Police Department as they loudly and proudly march through
the streets of East Orange to the stadium. People line the
streets and cheer as they always do when a parade marches by.
It's 12:15 PM by the time the band marches into
the Stadium. This reporter is tired from the march, but the young
men and women are just getting started as they anticipate their
The band files into their stadium seats, a
maneuver they have talked about, but have not yet had the
opportunity to practice, so there is a bit of lining up and quick
adjustments to get everyone in place.
Suddenly it's not practice anymore! It's the
real thing! The band starts to play as their team, the East
Orange Jaguars, takes to the field.
As a gesture of friendship towards the rival
Irvington High School Band, Director Frederick Goode leads his
staff, Drum Major and Section Leaders across the field to welcome
the Irvington Blue Knights Band. The local bands and band leaders
all know and respect one another and often work together in
parades and other events.
While the members of the band chat and shake
hands with the other band members and directors, the Jaguar
Cheerleaders have sent representatives with gifts for the Blue
The game still has about a minute remaining of
the second quarter when the full band heads out to the track and
gets lined up in position for the half-time show.
This is what all the hard work was for,
beginning back in June, going all summer long in Band Camp, and
for the past few weeks of full school rehearsals. The still
photos don't do them justice from this distance, so the next best
thing is the video below.