READYING FOR THE DOME — The Rome Free Academy Marching Black Knights will offer a “Rome to the Dome” community show that is free to the public on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at RFA Stadium. It will be the band’s final performance before the New York State Field Band Conference Championships on Sunday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. (Photo submitted)

Marching Black Knights to offer community show Wednesday at RFA Stadium

Published Oct 22, 2018 at 12:00pm

The Rome Free Academy Marching Black Knights band will host a community performance of its 2018 program “Mirage” on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at RFA Stadium.

Admission is free and the band welcomes friends, family, band alumni, and community members, said the school district.

The “Rome to the Dome” community show will be the band’s final performance before the New York State Field Band Conference Championships at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome on Sunday. The 2018 season marks the band’s eighth year of competition in the conference.

Band president Maria Keeney is “so excited for everyone to see all the hard work we have put into our show.” She added she is “very proud of the product we have made.”

Band director Jake Meiss explained “it really is a long journey, from learning the music back in the spring, to learning marching movements over the summer, and then performing and refining the show through the fall. We start with nothing, and through the hard work of the staff and students, we end up with this polished production.”

The “Mirage” production features music of Arabian influence while depicting the tricks that our eyes can play in the extreme heat of the desert, the district noted. Included are the pieces “Arabesque” by Samuel Hazo, “Night in Tunisia” by Dizzy Gillespie, “Arabian Dances” by Brian Balmages, and “Echoes of Egypt” by Nick Baratta. The show was arranged for the RFA band by Baratta.

As the band plays the music, it uses several sand dunes to set the desert mood, and moves mirror panels around the field to help create illusions, said the district. Among various roles for the ensemble during the show, saxophone section leader and band secretary David Salce said “my favorite part...was the unexpected flag choreography Mr. Meiss threw at us.... Senior color guard captain Adriana Beckwith said her favorite part is the closing piece: “I love the music and the work we have on rifle. The energy during the ending flag feature is high and we’re all pushing towards the end of the show which makes it exciting.”

The show has “garnered praise from adjudicators throughout the regular season,” said Meiss. “They have pointed out things we need to improve, and we’ve been working to make those improvements.”

The band heads into championships undefeated in the regular season in their division. Meiss said it is “far from a guarantee though – we’ve got to work hard this final week to stay on top.” RFA is competing against schools throughout the state in the Large School 3 division, including bands from Auburn, Copiague, East Ramapo, Greece, Hicksville, Hilton, and Suffern.

“As championships is coming closer, we are adding the final touches and clarifications to our show to make it the best it can be for our final performance,” said senior color guard captain Kaitlin Flint. “I cannot wait to perform ‘Mirage’ at the Dome for the last time and see all of our hard work pay off.”

The band will honor 12 graduating seniors at the community show: Adriana Beckwith, Anja Burkhart, Kayla Bush, Zach Filer, Kaitlin Flint, Maria Keeney, Rebecca Norman, Izabella Rivera, Dominic Sleszynski, Amity Szatko, Jakob Talbot, and Tori Wright. Overall it has 73 students in grades 8-12. Among sections:

Flutes — Levia Hernandez, Megan Norris, Amity Szatko, Rowan Parker, and Kayleen Martelli on piccolo; Clarinets — Maria Keeney, Madison Wolfe, Clarissa Burkhart, Avery Hildebran, Alexa Platis, Aleena Rosario, and Madison Short; Saxophones — Rafael Rivera, David Salce, Gianna Kleber, Mallory Tikalsky, Olivia Bauer, Dennis van Hoesel, Mariah Taylor, Isabella Davis, and Nick Ferretti; Trumpets — Zoey Fragapane, Anja Burkhart, Sven Van Hoesel, Enrique Rivera, Cooper Englebert, and Alex Linderman; Mellophones — Dominic Sleszynski and Jakob Talbot. Low brass — trombonists Bethany Beeman, Joe Keeney and Jacob Cosentino, euphonium player Zach Swistak, and tuba players Giovanna Sudol, Ramzy Davis, and Alex Zappavigna.

Percussion ensemble — Patrick O’Neil, Zach Filer, Deven Hosley, Emily Worth, Chris Incorvaia, Hunter Pisaneschi, Christopher Cobb, Christian Cobb, Antonio Cicci, Jimmy Pike, Erin Lennon, Alexus Lennon, Kevin O’Neill, Mia Mirabelli, and Kenneth Davis: Color guard — Captains are Adriana Beckwith, Kayla Bush, and Kaitlin Flint, with guard members Tori Wright, Myia Wright, Casey Hunziker, Hana Samad, Emily Brement, Becky Worth, Rebecca Norman, Adelina Rivera, Elena Davis, Lily Fleming, Ally Ferretti, Kayla Davis, Erika Rizzo, Kelly O’Neill, Hannah Morrison, Kaylee Gazzilli, and Joe Gazzilli, plus special assistance from Anthony Coney.