The Mainland Regional High School marching band - the Marching Mustangs - are no strangers to success. Last year at nationals, they placed second overall in their division in Annapolis, Md. This year, the band hopes to continue on the path of achievement by winning nationals in their division.

"I'm looking forward to getting another try at nationals," said senior Kenny Carson, 17, of Northfield.

"We did really well placing at states, so I really want to see if we can actually take first."

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Kenny, who is playing the tuba after years on the tenor and baritone saxophone, said that last year, the band lost many valuable seniors who graduated, but he is optimistic about this year's prospects.

"This year, I'm really anxious to see how we do because the band is a young band and we have a really difficult show this year, but we're doing really well with it and we're ahead of the game," he


Band mate and fellow senior, Matthew Johnson, 17, of Linwood, agreed: "We still have the same staff and a lot of good people who have been in band for three or four years, so honestly I'm not worried."

Matthew, who plays the trumpet, explained that the band's routine this year is called Duality and features Russian music. "Pictures at an Exhibition," "Fire of Eternal Glory" and the Firebird Suite are the featured works.

Also new this year are "stands and chairs like an orchestra setting, so the band and the color guard are going to be manipulating and working with props," Matthew said. "Last year, we didn't have any of these props, so it's definitely much harder."

On Sept. 28, the marching band will hold its biggest fundraiser, the annual band competition on the Mainland Regional High School football field.

Four other high schools will attend and compete in the competition. Because Mainland is the host school, it will not compete, but the Marching Mustangs will perform an exhibition and be critiqued by the judges.

"We have a very diverse group on skill level. Our show this year definitely highlights some of the potential that we've got going on right now," said Director Derek Rohaly, of Atlantic City. "By the time we get to states and nationals, our show should be doing very well."

This year, the state competition is in October at Rutgers University.

Signed up to attend the competition at Mainland so far are Lindenwold, Hammonton, Absegami and Shawnee high schools.

If Mainland were to compete in the event, they would rival Hammonton High School, which is in the same division because they have about the same size marching band.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Proceeds will offset the band expenses as they compete and attend New Jersey State Championships.

For more information, call Mary Carson at 609-226-3105.

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