Week 3 Recap: Rain and Shine

A close-up of the competition at North Penn

With the exception of the USBands Midlothian Regional in Texas, the weather this past weekend cooperated much better than in Week 2. USBands Pflugerville did get a little rain, but what was pronounced to be a full day of unrelenting rain turned out to be a mere 45 minutes, and the show went on. The theme for the show became, “Rain? What rain?!”

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Hendrickson Hawk Band; Photo by Jon Swengler

Seventeen competitions ran successfully on Saturday, September 29—thanks to everyone who made it happen!

Here’s a recap of the show at North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA:

The competition at North Penn kicked off with the Souderton Area High School “Big Red” Marching Band from Souderton, PA, performing in Group 3 A. Souderton delivered a fun and musical Latin-themed performance which included selections from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story and “Boom Boom Boom,” a fun piece made popular by singer Michael Buble.

Next up was the Central Bucks South High School Marching Band from Warrington, PA, competing in Group 4 A. The Titans started off their show, Catharsis: Tension and Release with “Asphalt Cocktail,” a fast, chaotic piece representing intense stress and exertion. In contrast, their show continued with “Adagio for Strings,” a beautifully lyrical ballad full of grace and emotion. Finally, the band closed out their program with a climactic, glorious release.

Then Abington High School Marching Ghosts took the field in Group 4 A competition with a show entitled, Atlantis. The program included three movements: “The Thriving Metropolis,” “An Eerie Calm” and “The Demise of Atlantis.” This show of volume, emotion and mystery transported the audience to the long-lost, legendary city of Atlantis.

Next up, competing in Group 2 Open, from Harrisburg, PA, was the Susquehanna Township High School Marching Band, which brought an impressive display of rhythm and color to the field in the form of Rhythmatics. Susquehanna has a tradition of presenting “unique and intriguing programs” that inspire audience and band members alike. This group is particularly impressive for their lack of drum major! Rifle catches and full-ensemble entrances, releases and staccato rhythms all happened in time together without a conductor.

Then the Williamstown High School Marching Band from Williamstown, NJ presented their show, Maya 2012: Rebirth, competing in Group 3 Open. Instead of the more common format, this show started out fast and rhythmic and ended with a lovely lyrical ballad.

After Williamstown, the Perkiomen Valley High School Marching Vikings from Collegeville, PA proudly presented their 2012 field show, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2012, competing in Group 3 Open. The program started out with a cool groove and crescendoed into a loud, fun opener. Then the Vikings slowed things down with a baritone and mellophone duet that led into a slower dance tune. The drums kicked off the closer, followed by a front ensemble feature. Then the full band came in as the tempo picked up. This accelerando was particularly impressive because Perkiomen also performed sans drum major— it was a true team effort!

A late but solid addition to the show, the Quakertown Community High School Panther Marching Band took the field next from Quakertown, PA, competing in Group 5 Open. Their show entitled, Birds, had three parts— “Episode One: The Hawk,” “Episode Two: The Dove” and “Episode Three: The Kingfisher”— and included all original music arrangements. True to its theme, Birds began with lots of bird chirps and calls, while feathered color guard members jerked their heads from side to side and ruffled their feathers. These small, well-choreographed details sold the program right from the beginning. The drum major salute also incorporated some bird motions that got a fun reaction from the crowd. Then the whole band joined in a dynamic, colorful crescendo that started off the show with high energy.

The Roxbury High School Marching Gales from Succasunna, NJ delivered an innovative performance that artfully employed some of the newer additions to the marching band activity—namely voice and light. Competing in Group 4 Open, their challenging musical and visual program was both complimented and enhanced by numerous glowing lights stationed throughout the field, and one of the band’s own marching members sang solos from her spot on the field throughout the show. Her soaring vibrato was truly gorgeous, and she enamored the audience.

Next up, from USBands’ home in Allentown, PA, was the Louis E. Dieruff High School Husky Band, competing in Group 1 A. With a show entitled, Mangione Magic: The Music of Chuck Mangione, Dieruff delivered a high-intensity opener featuring their brass section. Then they changed styles to a ballad that ebbed and flowed with dynamics and a sweeping melody carried by the woodwinds. A back-to-back flugle horn and alto sax duet began a fun closing musical number that finished off the program with a swinging jazz ending.

Finally, from Lansdale, PA, the home team took the field—the North Penn Marching Knights. Their 2012 program, FDR: An American Spirit, featured original musical compositions and began with a thought-provoking speech about the importance of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s life, symbolized only by the simple hyphen that exists between his birth and death years. Then Roosevelt’s voice spoke his famous quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and the band formed a powerful company front to deliver the show’s opening hit. The show continued with many patriotic and emotional tunes, as North Penn’s blue and white band uniforms and flowing red color guard dresses beautifully complimented this all-American program. It was an inspiring way to wrap up a night of great competition!

Congratulations to all competing bands this weekend! You were fabulous.

 

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