The Marching Patriots at the FRHSD and All-Shore Marching Festivals


FRHSD Marching Festival (via @fthsband on Instagram)

Leona Gagalac, Editor

FTHS’ Marching Patriots took this year’s field show, The Greatest Showman, on the road to Howell High School and Shore Regional High School for the annual FRHSD and All-Shore marching festivals! Bands from all over the school district and Monmouth and Ocean county came together to celebrate the arts on October 19th and 20th, which was especially important after the uncertainty of the last year and a half. As the first field show in two years because of the pandemic, Township came back better than ever. The fall breeze on Tuesday and Wednesday made for good marching uniform weather, with the Marching Patriots putting on a spectacular performance for both festivals. 

With shakos pointed towards the sky, instruments in ready position, and spirits high, Freehold Township commanded the audience with the music and visuals. Led by drum majors Jessica Hakanson, Melvin Pineda, and Taylor Traynor, the band played tunes from the title movie, containing arrangements from “The Greatest Show”, “This Is Me”, “Never Enough”, and “From Now On”. Unlike the usual Friday Night Lights performances, these marching festivals have crowds made up of marching bands all over the school district and counties, queuing deserved eruptions of applause at the performances’ end. 

Highlighted performers include trombone soloists Douglas Luke and Jacob Goetke, a guard duet by Diana Kingren and Aimee Hoffmann, tumblers Jason Feldman and Ellis Parks, a bearded lady feature by Piper Doherty, and featured dancers Rebecca Sharpe and Melvin Pineda. 

COVID-19 took a great deal away from the lives of people at Township, including some aspects of the arts. With a modified and socially distant show last year, all of the students, especially the seniors, have been yearning to be performing again. Drum Major Jessica Hakanson spoke on this feeling, saying that “Participating in the festival filled me with such pride, honestly – it felt amazing to be leading such an incredible group of people. Being greatly supported by the crowd as we performed made all of the long rehearsals and late nights feel so worth it.  I could not possibly ask for a better senior festival performance, and I’m so thankful I was able to experience it with such wonderful and talented people.” Senior percussion section leader Taryn Carbone echoed these sentiments, explaining, “I had the time of my life both performing and seeing the other band’s shows. Being my last festival as a senior, it made the whole experience a blast, but also bittersweet.”

“[Being] drum major of the FTHS Marching Patriots has been the greatest honor I’ve ever held,” Drum Major Melvin Pineda describes, “I love being a role model for underclassmen and knowing that they confide in me to help them with anything they need. I’ve dreamed of this day since I walked in and saw my freshman Drum Major, Michael Boni, and to this day, he has been one of my top role models in high school. My eyes are with pride at every performance and there truly is no greater feeling than coming together to create something so beautiful.”

As an ensemble that has been preparing for these performances since August, the long yet fulfilling journey paid off in the end. The FTHS Marching Patriots have had many talented and driven musicians come and go throughout the years, but the standard of excellence continues today through this year’s group of students – and this year’s show is a testament of their caliber.

Watch the Marching Patriots’ All-Shore festival performance above, and if you want to see the field show in-person, they will be performing at every varsity football game for the rest of the season!