Bridgemen Performing Arts Team Up With Bayonne Elks

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For the first time ever, the Bridgemen Performing Arts represented the Bayonne Elks Lodge at New Jerseys Elk’s Convention in Wildwood last weekend. After not participating in the parade last year, the Bridgemen approached the leadership of the Elks, expressing their desire to return to the parade. It had always been one of the high points of the season for the membership of the Bridgemen and it just made sense to march with their local lodge.

The Bridgemen, no longer function as an entire drum corps these days. Instead, they operate as several separate entities. The Brass, Color Guard, Mini Corps, DoubleB Independent and Bridgemen Percussion, all operate on their own schedules with regards to rehearsals, budgets and appearances so, putting all the groups together was more difficult than in years past when they operated as one single unit.

Friday night found both groups arriving at their motel and eventually gathering together on the outside patio for some food, drink, fun and games. All this while distributing the uniforms for the weekend. Since the weather was unexpectedly nice, some folks wandered on the boardwalk or went out to enjoy the local fare. Others stayed back to relax by the pool; enjoying the DJ, the barbecue, the corn hole and eventually….karaoke. For never working together in the past, the two groups seemed to mesh splendidly.

Saturday morning, it was time to get to work. By 10:00 AM, the brass and percussion were warming up and the color guard was working on their parade routine in the parking lot of the hotel. The individual elements worked on their music and routine for roughly an hour under the threat of rain. Finally, they assembled together and did a mock parade in the parking lot so that they could run through their act one last time before going live.

Photo by: Tyler Law

Since the Elks Parade is a competitive event, every aspect of the competing lodge is evaluated by a panel of judges. Not only are the musical organizations judged but, so are the floats, the presentation of the lodge’s theme, their costumes and even uniformity of the lodge members marching. The judging is quite comprehensive and the standards by which the lodges are evaluated, are strict. They are compared to all off the other lodges in the state. The Bridgemen have participated in Elk’s related events in the past but, this one was special because they were actually working with their hometown lodge.

The parade kicked off at noon, right on time, under overcast skies. Elks Lodges form practically every town in New Jersey and their accompanying musical organizations began moving down Atlantic Avenue, through the streets lined with retro style motels and pastel colored houses. Each lodge displayed their own particular theme, unique to them with a theme displaying their commitment to programs like youth camps, homeless veterans, people with special needs and drug awareness programs. On top of that, the Elks were celebrating their 150th anniversary.

After the parade, the party resumed on the deck back at the Hotel. Thanks to cooperation from the weather, team Bayonne was able to enjoy some time in the pool while music and the smell of barbecue filled the air. The party bumped up a notch or two once the judges results started to come in. The Bayonne Lodge received word that, in a field of over 100 competitors, they finished 4th place overall in the parade and that the Bridgemen Performing Arts finished 1st place overall in the Sr Drum corps category.

All in all, it was a successful day for the Bayonne Elks Lodge and the Bridgemen Performing Arts. The members of both organizations partied a little harder, sang a little louder and danced a little longer that night. A great time was had by all as everyone celebrated their accomplishments, as well as, the recognition for their Lodge, the Bridgemen and the city of Bayonne.

Posted by on Monday, June 4th, 2018. Filed under Current News, DCA News, FrontPage Feature.