Area high school marching bands are tuning up for the upcoming performance season, which kicks into gear this evening at football games throughout the area.
Bands at Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Line Mountain and Southern Columbia high schools have held practices throughout the summer in anticipation of performances today. In addition to entertaining thousands of spectators at home and away games this season, the bands are set to perform at pep rallies, parades and other community and school functions.
The Southern Columbia Area marching band has grown accustomed to extended football seasons. Under the helm of Joel Thomas, the band last year supported the Tigers through the state playoffs, which concluded with a state championship win on Dec. 8. With the team expected this season to make another title run the veteran band director said his students are prepared to entertain fans, even when the temperature dips below 32 degrees.
“The only problem with long seasons is when the instruments start to freeze,” Thomas said during a break in practice on a parking lot next to the high school last Thursday.
He said musicians do their best to keep instruments warm, such as playing pep songs throughout the game. A positive note to playing until December, he added, is that there is more time to perfect shows. Practices began July 30 and will continue well into the regular season.
The band, which consists of 51 members in grades seven through 12, will make its debut today at Tiger Stadium prior to the Tigers taking on Bloomsburg. They will perform “Spirit in the Sky,” “Escape (the Pina Colada Sons),” “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” which were featured in the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
The Line Mountain marching band will present its 2018 show, “Any Way the Wind Blows!” It includes “Mars” and “Jupiter” from the “Planets Suite,” composed by Gustav Holst, and classic Queen songs “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Soloists include Joshua Masser, trumpeter and drum major.
Under the direction of Dana Brown, the 46-member ensemble is comprised of students in grades seven through 12. The band actively participates in school and community events and several parades, including the Union County Fourth of July parade, Hickory Corners Fire Co. parade, Pillow bicentennial parade, Trevorton Fall Festival parade, Herndon Halloween parade and the Susquehanna Valley Mall Santa parade.
Band staff includes Kaitlyn Troutman, drill tech; Kyle Harro, drum tech; Ariel Harro, pit tech; Cody Dauber, drill writer; Courtlyn Trautman, color guard instructor; and Cheryl Ibberson, assistant band director.
Student leaders are Rileigh Celsky, flute captain; Hannah Watts, clarinet captain; Ethan Keefer, saxophone captain; Keri Ferster and Masser, trumpet co-captains, Alora Howard, low-brass captain; Faith Candelora, drumline captain; Joshua Houseman, student drum tech; Alexis Stoneroad-Moyer, color guard captain; Joanna Weaver, student color guard tech; Masser, drum major; and Lilliana Feliciano, assistant drum major.
The Big Red Band has invited all past drum majors of the Mount Carmel Area, Mount Carmel and the former Mount Carmel Township and Kulpmont schools for the first ever reunion performance during the Tornadoes second home game Aug. 31 versus Southern Columbia. Former drum majors can RSVP by sending a message to “MCA Big Red Parents” on Facebook or emailing email@example.com.
All participants will meet at the location of the former high school, Third and Market streets, at 5 p.m. on performance day.
Band director and district Superintendent Bernie Stellar said this year’s drum major is senior Ainsley Fegley. She will direct approximately 85 members from grades seven through 12.
The show will have a Latin theme featuring “September,” by Earth, Wind and Fire, “Granada Smoothie” and Santana hits “Smooth,” featuring senior Samantha Darrup on the baritone, transitioning into “Oye Como Va.”
Stellar said, “I chose a Latin theme because we have a good rhythm section this year. It’s playing to the students’ abilities.”
As tradition, the band will march down Third Street prior to tonight’s contest.
The Shamokin Area High School marching band will also be playing a Santana favorite, “Everybody’s Everything.” Under the direction of Kevin Styer, the 80 playing members and 15 guard members will also entertain with performances of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen, “Final Countdown,” by Europe and “House of the Rising Sun,” by The Animals.
The band previewed its show during a Meet the Players event Thursday evening at Kemp Memorial Stadium and will perform tonight in Danville as the Indians take on Milton.
“I look at the ability of the students and what will entertain the fans,” Styer said of the song selections.
It will be another exciting year for the “Pride of the Coal Region.” New band uniforms will debut at the first home game, Aug. 31 against North Schuylkill, and a band reunion will occur again this year on homecoming, Sept. 21.
The competition band is looking to improve on its successful 2017 season. The band placed fifth at the prestigious Atlantic Coast Championship Nov. 4 at West Shore Stadium in Camp Hill. The band entered the competition in ninth place and moved up with a score of 89.49.
The 2018 edition of the competition band consists of 45 playing members and 15 in the guard. The band will perform “The Witching Hour,” by Randall Standridge. The show will be “intriguing” and “dark,” according to Styer.
The first competition for the band will be at the Black Diamond Cavalcade at Kemp Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 15. Twelve bands are tentatively scheduled to participate.