SHS Marching Band and Color Guard’s Performance at NESBA Fall Final ‘Golden’

Posted on: November 7, 2023
Salem High School Marching Band and Color Guard at NESBA

Sunday’s performance marks 18th gold medal since 1992

SALEM (Nov. 7, 2023) – The Salem High School football team’s MIAA Division 6 Tournament first round clash at Bertram Field – a 33-27 victory over Dennis-Yarmouth Friday night – was critical for so many reasons.

Undoubtedly overlooked, it presented an extra opportunity for the SHS Marching Band and Color Guard to fine tune its performance before they capped their competitive schedule for the fall of 2023 on Sunday.

“Every time we rehearse, we get better and better,” said Marching Band Director Cyndi Napierkowski, in her 37th year.

The SHS Marching Band and Color Guard earned a gold medal Sunday at the New England School Band Association (NESBA) Fall Final at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Lawrence. The show was the highlight of an abbreviated fall 2023 schedule, hampered by canceled gigs and inclement weather.

“We’re very, very happy to get a gold medal,” Ms. Napierkowski said. “We didn’t come in first place, but that’s not what we were going for. We wanted to stay in that bracket of the top high school bands.”

The finish was especially meaningful since the NESBA Fall Final was the SHS Marching Band and Color Guard’s only competitive performance this fall. Ms. Napierkowski chose to opt out of the U.S. Bands circuit due to the extensive travel. Additionally, they were forced to withdraw from the NESBA Wakefield fall event on Oct. 21 – historically a Fall Final preliminary test of sorts – due to downpours.

The Marching Band and Color Guard’s performance, titled “Hits From Across the Pond,” includes four iconic songs. It opens with The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” before segueing into “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” by The Police and “Your Song” by Elton John before closing with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Coupled with the choreography of the band and color guard, it is an ambitious show, said Ms. Napierkowski, who noted there are 24 newcomers to this year’s band and color guard. “What we’re asking our kids to do is very difficult,” she added.

Sunday’s performance elicited a standing ovation.

“It was tremendous. Our kids are doing amazing things,” Ms. Napierkowski said. “We are putting ourselves out there competitively. The kids enjoy the competition so much because the crowd is there to watch them.”

The SHS Marching Band and Color Guard have compiled seven platinum medals and 18 gold medals at the NESBA Fall Final since 1992.

They are scheduled to perform at the City of Salem’s Veterans Day Ceremony Saturday, Nov. 11 (11 a.m.) at the SHS Auditorium.

About Salem Public Schools

Salem Public Schools is an urban public school district in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem is a small, diverse city with a proud maritime and immigrant history. Our leaders and our teachers are all passionate about education and understand the urgency of improving student achievement with equity and social-emotional needs as the lens we view all of our work through. We respect and value the racial, cultural, and linguistic diversity of our students and their families, and have a strong commitment to the Salem community. Salem Public Schools staff serve all of our students, regardless of ability or language. Salem Public Schools enrolls approximately 4,000 students across its eleven schools.