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Dutchmen Marching Band continues to grow

August 15, 2012

Photo by Amy Cherry Members of the SMAHS Dutchmen Marching Band perform a portion of this year's show during a recent Family Show which culminated the group's two-week long band camp.

The St. Marys Area High School Dutchmen Marching Band is putting "Body, Mind and Spirit" into this year's halftime show.
"The design team worked throughout the summer to come up with ideas for this year's show. It was first based on the number '3' because each tune shares a triple-time feel, but then moved to a theme made up of three elements of life. Spectators should look for different types of movement on the field to represent 'Body, Mind, and Spirit,'" explained Adam Brooks, marching band director.
The pieces featured in the show are "Minimally Speaking #3", "The Bioluminescence of the Night" from the movie "Avatar" and "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" from "The Planets," a seven-movement suite each named after a planet in Earth's solar system.
Leading the Marching Dutchmen on the field are drum majors Brianna Pontzer and Brad Sidelinger. This year's band consists of 36 musicians and 18 colorguard members, including seniors Mikayla Jackson, Brianna Pontzer, Ernie Huff, Sam Atwell, Jarrod Lipsey, Brad Sidelinger, Cody Rhoades, Melissa Bauer, and Nicos Sette.
Brooks noted for the first time since 2010, the band will march a battery percussion section on the field.
" We also have the largest colorguard in quite some time, as well as front ensemble," Brook said. "The marching winds always put on a good musical and visual show, with many of the ideas and moves thought up by the students themselves."
The band's Mini Band Camp kicked off initial rehearsals in June. Additional rehearsals took place throughout the summer, along with the group's traditional band camp, which took place from July 30 - Aug.10. On Aug. 8, the band participated in a parade at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh. Earlier this summer in June, the band marched in the DuBois Fireman's Parade. Their next appearance is on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the St. Marys Airport American Spirit Aviation Festival.
"It is important to realize that the show is always a work in progress, and it will change a little each week," Brooks noted. "Since we are at the beginning of the season, we are still working on fundamentals and putting the show together."
Once school begins, the band will gather three times a week and on Saturdays of competition days to practice.
"It is simply amazing to see our students from beginning to end, perform to their fullest potential each and every week. Sometimes I forget that the students are as young as 13, but are always professional and respectful during and after their performances," Brooks said.
According to Brooks, the band has accomplished the goal of increasing membership with new students.
"The challenge is to keep them coming back and creating new and fun ways for them to enjoy marching band. We had a blast the past two weeks with the Band Camp Olympics, marched in a parade at Kennywood Park, and will be playing some fun tunes at football games," he said. "The challenge is to work through and persevere for the next two-and-a-half months of rehearsals, football games, and competitions. We must continue to work hard, practice individually, and keep our morale and spirits high."
The Marching Dutchmen Band will continue competing in the Tournament of Bands circuit. Their schedule includes performances at all home and playoff football games, as well as on Sept. 3 at the Bennetts Valley Labor Day Parade; Sept. 8 at an exhibition performance in Kane; Sept. 22 at SMAHS as part of the Sounds of Autumn competition; Sept. 28 in DuBois; Oct. 6 in Tyrone; Oct. 22 at Chapter Championships at IUP; and Oct. 28 at Atlantic Coast Championship at Hershey Stadium.

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