As Drum Major for BHS Band, Victoria Baldwin Sets the Tone for 'Bridgeport Rock City'

By Chris Johnson on September 08, 2023 via

During halftime at football games at Wayne Jamison Field this fall, one could get away with saying the town has transformed into “Bridgeport Rock City.”
That’s all thanks to the BHS band’s performance of a five-song medley of popular KISS songs that has been getting rave reviews.
Victoria Baldwin may not be wearing face paint like Paul Stanley or spitting fire like Gene Simmons but she’s every bit as important to a successful BHS band performance as Stanley and Simmons are to a KISS show.
The drum major is a vital role for any high school band and it’s a role that Baldwin, a senior, is relishing even if it is one shouldn’t enivision a few years ago.
“When I first got to high school, I wasn’t too sure about it,” she said. “But after watching everyone else do it (being a drum major), I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
She was named the 2023-24 drum major before the school year ended last May so she was prepared for when band camp began over the summer and the challenges of getting the rest of her bandmates on the same page when it comes marching as well as learning the KISS songs.
“During band camp I was a little nervous going in as to how it would go,” Baldwin said. “But after we started performing and learning, everything started clicking. It was really great seeing that from my perspective. I don’t think I appreciated that part of it when I was on the field.
Songs like “Detroit Rock City,” “Shout it Out Loud,” and “Rock and Roll All Nite” at their baisc core are guitars, bass, drums and vocals and that’s it. A high school band has a lot of other instruments to introduce to the music.
“It’s a lot different trying to incorporate all the instruments but honestly it fit together reall well,” said Baldwin, whose personal favorite song of the show is the closer, “Rock and Roll All Nite.” 
The energy and the passion are there which probably matters the most and those aspects are helped by a change to the BHS band’s Friday night wardrobe.
“The show is definitely a lot different than everything I have done in band before,” Baldwin said. “This is one of the most fun and exciting shows we have done. We get to dress up as rockers so that help makes it even more fun. It’s definitely more relaxed and it helps with the show. It helps people get more into it.”
Labor Day Weekend was a busy one for Baldwin and the BHS band. They did their halftime show at the first home football game on Friday night (they also went on tour in Week 1 to Buckhannon-Upshur) and about 12 hours later participated in the Italian Heritage Festival parade.
“The parades are a lot more serious and technical,” Baldwin said. “It’s still fun, it’s just a different environment.”
This weekend the band will take part in the Fairmont Band Spectacular.
“I’m really looking forward to all the band spectaculars coming up,” Baldwin said. “It’s not really competition, but we get to see what everyone else’s band is doing. I’m really excited about that.”
She is also looking forward to concert season which ramps up in the spring and allows her the opportunity to play her instrument of choice, the flute.
It might seem like Baldwin wears a lot of hats just within the confines of the BHS band. But a busy schedule is nothing new to her.
She also performs with the strings orchestra. She’s in National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, particpates in the robotics program and is active with BHS Theatre.
Baldwin was recently was cast as Mrs. Bucket (Charlie’s Mom) for the Theatre’s upcoming performance of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Editor's Note: Photos of Baldwin courtesy of Joe LaRocca.

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