NEWPORT, Maine — So early Saturday morning that it was likely before breakfast for many, the drums pounded, the horns blared and the saxophones wailed a hot-blooded Latin tune.
The Warsaw Middle School Jazz Band from Pittsfield blasted out “Oye Como Va” to kick off a day of music at the state middle school jazz band competition.
“What a great way to start the day,” exclaimed Bruce Brown, a Newport music instructor and one of the 50 volunteers who helped make the day run smoothly.
After three numbers, the young musicians exited the stage to spend the rest of the morning listening to other bands and waiting four hours for the competition results.
“I am ecstatic,” said Marisa Weinstein, Warsaw’s music director. “They did so well. This is the youngest group we have ever had.”
Although Warsaw has periodically included sixth-graders, this was the first competition with fifth-graders.
One after another, bands climbed the risers and performed three numbers each. More than 700 students participated, and nearly that number of parents, friends and teachers cheered them on.
Robin Duplisea of the Newport area music boosters said organizing and executing the festival is a lot of work. “But we’ve been doing it for years, and we have a system now,” she said. Nearby a telephone rang and a walkie-talkie crackled. Details such as finding pencils for the judges and hot dog tongs for the cooks were dispatched quickly.
At least 50 volunteers used maps of the school and clipboards to move students from practice rooms to warm-up rooms to the stages at their appointed times.
Music flowed up and down the halls and the volunteers just kept smiling. “It’s all about the kids,” Duplisea
The results of the competition, provided by Newport area music boosters member Barbara Mower:
Division 1: First place, Falmouth; second, Wescott in Westbrook; third, Brunswick.
Division 2: First place, Leonard in Old Town; second, Memorial in South Portland; third, Mahoney in South Portland.
Division 3: First place, Houlton; second, Center Drive in Orrington; third, Warsaw in Pittsfield.
Division 4: First place, Blue Hill; second, Emerson in Bar Harbor; third, Mount Desert.