The Northside Royal Ambassador Marching Band has earned three state titles in the last four years.
ST. PETERSBURG – The 50-member division 1A Royal Ambassador Marching Band earned a second state championship recently.
This marks three state titles in the last four years for Northside Christian School and it is the school’s fourth state title in the last eight, having won in 2006, 2010, 2012, and now 2013.
The little marching band, which has members as young as seventh graders, spread a message of optimism through its 1920s themed show “Roarin’”. The centerpiece of the show is “Smile,” a song written by Charlie Chaplin during the great depression. Even though the group dressed in flapper dresses and tuxedos and danced the Charleston, the kids were aware of a deeper message: The good times don’t always last. “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world” is quote from Jesus in the book of John that appears on the “Roarin’” themed T-shirts seen by supportive parents in the stands.
Northside featured several unusual instruments not normally found in marching bands including a banjo, a complete jazz rhythm section and even a violin solo played by a student dressed as Charlie Chaplain. The show started with all performers in black or white and gradually morphed into color as the production moves from song to song.
The show began with George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” played by senior Sarah Cate, St. Petersburg, and accompanied by saber soloist Jennifer Clees, St. Petersburg, which quickly gave way to Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
“Sweet Georgia Brown” featured a Dixieland ensemble including senior Taylor Hartman, Largo; senior Kirsten Downs, Pinellas Park; junior Jordan Kroll, St Petersburg; and junior Christa Mullholand, Clearwater as well as senior Katt Carlton, Pinellas Park, on banjo.
Seniors Cara-lyn Mullholand and Troy Hicks, both from Clearwater, were featured in a rendition of “Smile.” which evolved into “Sunny Side of the Street” featuring the tuba section (juniors Jordan Kroll and Jordan Hoff, both from St. Petersburg and eighth-grader Aaron Anderson, Clearwater). Sophomore Claire McGlathery, St Petersburg, was featured on a dance solo during “Smile.”
The final movement began with another Irving Berlin favorite, “Blue Skies,” and a costume change by the band from black and white tuxes to blue marching band uniforms. Just when the show seemed to be over a guard solo by sophomore Sydney Shupe, Seminole, transitioned the audience into a rendition of the “Charleston” with the entire ensemble dancing.