Yahh Bandcamp!

Riley Preiss, Staff Writer

Everyone’s favorite weekend of the year… the halls are abuzz with excitement.




Seniors are especially excited. The hills of Pine Forest are not to be taken lightly, however. I’m sure if you’ve ever come across a band member or Dalerette around their biggest and most hyped up four days of the season, you will have noticed how seriously and wholeheartedly people love it.  It’s an amazing thing here in Farmingdale that almost three hundred students are able to get onto six buses, drive about three hours to Pennsylvania, and be able to stay there for three nights in cabins with some of their closest friends. What other district does this? It’s no surprise everyone loves it. Junior Kayla Poltorak calls it “the time of her life.”

Band Camp is a common topic of jokes; the usual “this one time at band camp…” jokes always make an appearance. But in all honesty, as cliche as it might sound, bandcamp is really no joke. As fun as the weekend is, it’s a long one. We arrive around 3:00PM, set up our cabins with the usual making of beds, rearranging of furniture, snack unpacking, and in some cases extreme decorating that is tradition of the band cabins. Then we get to eat dinner, which is basically inhaled because everyone is starving, and by 6:00PM the hard work that goes into making our half time show a success begins. Band section leaders hold rehearsal or “sectionals” with their section of instruments and Pine Forest is immediately filled with music. Every space available is utilized for such a large band and at this time the Dalerettes start to warm up and rehearse the routines that they’ve spent months of summer practice getting down.  After practicing everyone is exhausted, but a basketball tournament involving a lot of screaming and cheering is of course next. There’s even some fake rivalries. I can honestly say as a hardcore sideliner that sitting and watching is just as much (if not more) fun than actually playing.  Lights out is at eleven and this is when my favorite part of bandcamp begins. I love just laying in my bunk talking and laughing with the girls in my cabin (a little too loudly at times), possibly getting yelled at to turn our lights off, and bonding with people who become your closest friends. Junior Dalerette Sam Dunn says “Band Camp is the best bonding experience, I’ve made my best friends here.”

The next three days all begin the same way, slightly cold and damp with everyone woken up by some violent banging on their doors. By 8:00AM the three hundred of us are in the cafeteria sporting an array of sweatpants and sweatshirts eating breakfast before getting to work. “Good Morning Dalers!” Mrs. Ferrari, Band Camp head chaperone, greets us all. And by 9:00AM, our day of hard work begins again. Practice on the field lasts for three hours before lunch. The motivation in the air to get the show done is shocking. In what world are this many teenagers all equally motivated to accomplish a halftime show, to put in the long hours of practice, and then still be as excited for the day as when they woke up? Apparently only in Farmingdale.  By the end of day one this year we had accomplished the sets for three songs. Never has that happened before. I always start to think about how fast the weekend is flying by around this time. Thank God I’m a junior, I get to go through it again, but for my friends that are seniors it began to hit them that this was the end of their last first day in Pine Forest.  Karaoke Night was the pick me up that everyone needed. A new activity last year, karaoke night was taken to another level this year. The highlight of course being the staff’s rendition of “Tell Me What You Want” by the Spice Girls.  By 11:00PM it’s lights out again, and we’re getting ready to take on our last full day.

Saturday is everyone’s favorite day of band camp. It’s packed with even more to do than the previous two, and despite everyone’s exhaustion, the energy is still at full force. After practicing the show, there’s a senior vs. staff traditional volleyball game. To be honest I’m not positive who won, though both teams were as equally enthusiastic. Then the seniors take their pictures on the field. A lot of Saturday is nostalgic. Seniors remember their freshman year when they all were only acquaintances with each other. They had looked up at the ‘scary” seniors of their freshman year and their close bond. Now they are in their places. Senior Alexis Carlow can’t believe it’s her senior year. “Band camp is unforgettable experience where you create bonds that will last a lifetime,” she says. After more rehearsal the most anticipated part of the weekend starts. Everyone goes back to their cabins to get ready for the showcase and senior send off, and later on DJ night. The showcases all look great and the band gets to see the Dalerettes dance and the Dalerettes get to see the band play. It’s amazing to see what each other has accomplished. Senior sendoff  is sad, there are a lot of tears (not only because I happened to injure myself performing the showcase). Our senior friends are leaving us, and I know as a junior that it is so hard imagining next year without them. But the slideshow of the weekend and DJ night lifted the mood. The seniors ran in with their surprise theme of the year, “Fiesta.” The sombreros and maracas definitely complimented the crazy dance moves whipped out. Following DJ night is everyone’s last night in their cabin. Senior band member and Dalerette Dayna Rocha reflected on this year’s bandcamp saying, “My class got even closer than I thought possible and it was the best way to end my band camp experience.” Typically there is a lot of packing up to do, but probably even more laughs because of how tired everyone is.  

The final morning spent in Pine Forest is for sure a little sad. Alex Bould, another senior, says, “It went way too fast.” You sweep, pack up your final things and have to say goodbye to your cabin (which everyone gets pretty attached to).  But more than anything, Sunday morning is when we see the hard work we put in over the past four days finally come together. We perform the show for all of the chaperones and staff members. And it is one of the best feelings seeing everyone’s faces when we finish. This season is definitely my favorite show. One of the band directors, Mrs. Lieberman recently said, “This has to be one of my favorite shows ever.” I hope that the rest of the school feels the same way. Boarding the buses everyone is exhausted, a little sad the weekend is over, and proud. Until next year Pine Forest!