Seneca Valley Marching Band Season Kickoff: What’s New, What to Expect

Caroline Foley, Staff Writer

The Seneca Valley Marching Band will be performing its new halftime show at the first football game of the season this Friday, September 4th. Mr. Armstrong, one of the band’s directors, was interviewed on the status of the marching band and what to expect at this year’s show.

Mr. Armstrong told the Seneca Scout that the repertoire of songs being performed includes “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles, “Running Just to Catch Myself,” composed by Mark Shultz, “Lips Are Moving” by Meghan Trainor, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

Armstrong said, “(there is) something for everyone in this year’s show,” and that the band will bring the high energy and presence that distinguishes it every year. When asked what tune he believes will be the audience’s favorite, Armstrong stated it would most likely be “Bohemian Rhapsody” because “it’s fun and instantly recognizable” by the audience.

The band will be led by this year’s new drum majors, seniors Katie Platt and Carinne Geil. In addition to the two new drum majors, this year’s marching band is 10 to 15 people larger than last year’s, bringing the total number of musicians to 191.

When questioned about what new features to anticipate this year, Armstrong discussed the moving percussion section. This is unusual for marching bands because percussion is usually stationary and stays toward the back of the band for the duration of the show; this year, however, the percussion section will move to the front of the band at one point in the show and have its own feature.

Creating a halftime show does not solely revolve around the young musicians learning their parts and marching in time. The marching band began practicing midsummer with sectionals and went on to full-day band camps beginning at 7:30 A.M. approximately two weeks before school started this year.

Mr. Armstrong explained that the most challenging part of being a band director were not the weeks of preparing for football season, or even selecting music and planning the dynamics of the show as many would believe, but instead, the coaching aspect of being a band director. “Sometimes it’s difficult to find a motivational approach that gets through to everyone because each student responds differently. It’s definitely a challenge trying to appeal to and motivate students. It’s not enough to just be a good musician in the band, and the coaching aspect of being a director is the most difficult as well as rewarding part of the job,” he stated.

This motivation has clearly paid off; one of the first things to be seen in the band room is the shelves overflowing with multi-tiered trophies and awards that the band has earned at both the regional and national level. One of the band’s most notable parade performances was its appearance in the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in Washington, D.C. this past April.

After the interview, one point was clearly evident: the Seneca Valley “Roaring Raider” Marching Band and its directors have put in the work and demanded the discipline required to uphold its reputation for greatness, and this year’s halftime show will undoubtedly be one to remember.