The Barnegat Marching High School Bengals are on the hunt for some new equipment, following a $1,000 donation from the local American Legion, Post 232.
At the recent Board of Education Meeting, American Legion Post 232 donated the funds to the band as a way to show their appreciation for the band accompanying the Legion to their Convention in Wildwood earlier this summer, at the inauguration of local Legion member Eugene O'Grady, who took over as State Commander of the American Legion for the 2012-2013 year.
During that parade, which featured about 80 bands from throughout the state, the Bengals took fourth place, which was a pleasant surprise, considering "this was our first time ever marching in that parade," said John Germano, who is director of athletics at Barnegat Township schools.
Legion member Lenny Sonnenberg echoed Germano's sentiment, noting: "Some of those bands [in the Legion convention parade] have been going there for 20 years, and for those guys to place fourth, we were really proud of them." He said that pride in the Bengals was what helped prompt the decision to make the donation.
That placement set the pace for the school year, it seems, as Director Anthony Orecchio said the Bengals just placed second in a state competition, and this Saturday, heads to Harrisburg, Pa. to compete in a championship Tournament of Bands. The Bengals are going into that competition ranked second of 36 bands.
Orecchio called the American Legion's donation "above and beyond" a thank you.
"After the parade (in Wildwood) they barbecued, providing food, drink, as much as the kids wanted, so when I was told about [the donation] I was shocked," Orecchio said. "They always go above and beyond for us." He said the Bengals are currently shopping for quads to help tow some of the band equipment, and he said that donation will go a long way to helping out with that purchase.