Archive for category nazareth area high school

Nazareth Area High School prom 2017 (PHOTOS)

Students of Nazareth Area High School celebrated their prom Friday night at the Palace Center in Allentown.

Nazareth Area High School students celebrated their prom Friday n…

Nazareth High’s new roof and turf field to top $4.2M

Some major capital projects are happening in the Nazareth Area School District.

Construction is underway to replace Nazareth Area High School’s synthetic turf athletic field.
And…

Nazareth High kids hold school’s 1st mini-THON (PHOTOS)

Nazareth Area High School joined the mini-THON effort to raise money to fight childhood cancer.

Nazareth Area High School held its first-ever mini-THON on Friday. The event star…

Fundraising dodgeball tournament a hit in Nazareth (PHOTOS)

Nazareth Area High School hosted the 12th annual GLAX Fundraiser Dodgeball Tournament on Saturday.

Watch video

The Nazareth Area High School girls lacrosse …

Nazareth Soundfest showcases 16 marching bands (PHOTOS)

Lehigh Valley marching bands strutted their stuff Saturday night during Nazareth Soundfest, a USBands competition.

Marching bands from the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas st…

Meet the 2016 Nazareth Area High School Marching Band (PHOTOS)

The Nazareth Area High School Blue Eagle Marching Band will host its annual Nazareth Soundfest on Oct. 8.

Nazareth Area High School Blue Eagle Marching Band
Director: Brad Boandl…

Behind the music: Competing marching bands ready for new season

High school athletes aren’t the only ones who prepare in August for the fall season.

Marching bands aren’t just about performing during halftime shows.

Five Lehigh Valley high school bands perform Friday nights at football games, then gear up again Saturday for band competitions.

Nazareth Area, Northampton Area, Catasauqua, Easton Area and Whitehall high schools each have award-winning marching bands that enter competitions, and the fall season is about to begin.

Like most high school bands in the area, they start practicing in August with two weeks of band camp. They learn the music and formations, called drill, that spectators see during halftime performances. They also fine-tune marching technique, color guard tosses, musical intonation and conducting for student drum majors.

Northampton Area band director James Sansone said band members put in “167 hours of scheduled rehearsal time” from June to November. That doesn’t include the individual practicing of music and extra rehearsals student leaders host for their band sections.

“I think kids do it because it’s a family away from home,” Sansone said.

One day earlier this month, the Nazareth Area High School band was inside working on music while the color guard stayed outside perfecting drop spins. The drum line and front ensemble each had its own room for practice, with the winds in the auditorium.

Nazareth’s show this year has not been titled yet but the music is called “To Conquer the Air” and will pertain to flight and airplanes. There are roughly 95 band members led by drum major Callie Gibson.

Staff member Frank Felix said Nazareth’s last season was “successful” and that this year’s band is “working hard and doing our best” for the new season.

Nazareth is under the direction of Brad Boandl and will host its own competition at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, competing in the US Bands circuit.

On Monday night, the Northampton Area band was practicing outside in “basics block.” They lined up on the school parking lot they use for a practice field and worked on marching technique. 

Their show this year is titled “Siren’s Song” and tells the Greek myth of the sirens — women who use their singing to lure sailors to their demise. They have 55 members led by drum major Hailey Silfies and assistant drum major Gavyn Frankenfield.

Meet the Konkrete Kids’ band (PHOTOS)

Assistant Director Tim Carpency said last season was a successful one.

“We won Cavalcade of Bands Class American A Champions with Best Music and Best Percussion and a score of 92.15,” he said — the highest in the band’s history. 

While Monday was the first day of band camp for Northampton Area, members already had been preparing for 2016-17 with rehearsals throughout May and July. Band leaders said that during the two weeks of band camp, student musicians will put in roughly 55 hours of rehearsal time.

Northampton is under the direction of James Sansone and will host a doubleheader competition on Saturday, Sept. 17, with Cavalcade of Bands starting at 3 p.m. and Tournament of Bands starting at 6 p.m. Northampton will compete in both circuits this year.

Catasauqua worked on drill on a recent Friday morning. Students learned where they had to move in the show and how many counts they had to get there. They used large dots to mark their spots on the parking lot until they had the movements memorized.

The show this year is using the working title of “Space.”

“The idea of it is we’re traveling through space to find a new planet,” said band Director Robert Arnold. The show will present the concept of going through the Milky Way and avoiding and colliding with asteroids, before landing on a new world.

The band has 35 members and has actually grown in the past three years under Arnold’s direction.

“We’re trying to build it more and more,” he said. “In the ’80s, it was 75, 80 members. My goal is to get it back up to that point.”

Last season Catasauqua was just shy of being in the top five in its division and this year the goal is to make the top three.

Arnold said the goal is attainable because the band has a “challenging show and interesting concept” — as well as members who he says are driven to do their best. 

Because it’s a smaller band, Catasauqua does not have a drum major, so the six seniors take turns saluting at the beginning of performances and accepting awards. They also do not host a competition. 

At Easton Area High School, the band on Aug. 12 wrapped up its second annual March 4 Music march-a-thon. The 280-member band had to march 50 laps in a block formation, doing so to raise money to purchase new instruments. So far band members have raised $8,000 toward the purchase of of four double french horns. The fundraiser ends in four weeks and donations can be made on Easton’s March 4 Music page.

Meet the 2016 Red Rover band (PHOTOS)

Each section had its own dress theme for the Aug. 12 activity. A sampling: the color guard theme was neon 1980s; trombones were Mario Kart; alto saxophones were nerds; mellophones were “101 Dalmatians”; flutes had a Hawaiian theme; tubas were hippies; and drum majors Brian Perhamus, Steven Thatcher and Alenah Yi were Pokemon trainers.

Easton’s show this year is “Riverdance” and will be comprised of Celtic music.

Director Carole Lutte said last season was great and she hopes this season will be be, too.

“There’s no other option,” she said.

Easton will host the First Flag Over the United Colonies on Oct. 5 at Cottingham Stadium. The Red Rover band performs in US Bands shows and at football games. 

Whitehall wasn’t having practice on Aug. 12. Instead, members competed in the “Bando Olympics,” as band Director Matthew Tanzos called them. The fun came after a Friday morning rehearsal.

Meet the Marching Zephyrs (PHOTOS)

Tanzos said he holds the relay races after the first week of band camp every year to let members have fun as a reward for working hard. They also have a scavenger hunt the following Friday and hold a “distraction practice” — the final rehearsal before championships where directors prank the students during run-throughs of the show.

Whitehall’s show this year is titled “Waves” and is made up of four movements — Shockwave, Ocean Wave, Sound Wave and Heat Wave. The band has 55 members led by drum major Leslie Abreu.

Whitehall finished fourth last year in the Atlantic Coast Championship with Best Percussion and won the Tournament of Bands Region 2 Eastern Region Championship.

Tanzos said he was looking forward to this season.

“It’s shaping up really well,” he said. “Considering the intensity of the drill and the amount of new members, we’re really impressed.”

Whitehall will host its competition at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. It competes in both the Tournament of Bands and Cavalcade of Bands circuits.

Each competition features a variety of high school marching bands from the area and beyond, closing with a performance by the host band. Often that’s followed by a performance from a college marching band before awards.

The bands are judged on both music and visuals from on the field and in the press box. Bands compete throughout the fall before going to championships in November.

Melissa Reph, a Northampton Area band alum, is lehighvalleylive.com’s Student Achievement Award intern. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Nazareth Area High School graduation 2016 (PHOTOS)

The Class of 2016 celebrated its commencement at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem.

Nazareth Area High School held its commencement Friday night at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem.
The valed…

New Nazareth High training room gets $50K donation

A new athletic training room was built at Nazareth Area High School and Coordinated Health is helping to defray the costs.

Student-athletes with ailments will no longer need to h…

2 local high schools earn ‘A’ on state report cards, but grades called misleading

The Pennsylvania Department of Education on Wednesday released its latest grades for public high schools statewide.

Standardized tests are weighed heavily in grading schools on …