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Marching Band has it’s perks… Today we take the band to Kennywood Park , a well known amusement park in Pittsburgh, PA. This year the Mighty Grove City Wolverines are marching 171 strong, including 30 fronts. Although many big state universities have bands almost double this size, as far as we know, there are no colleges under 3000 that march as many as we do. Our band varies in size from year to year from 160 to over 200.
We march 6 across with the percussion in the middle. Instrumentally we effectively have two full bands separated by the percussion. This allows for a consistent sound no matter where the listener may be. The GCC wolverines are led by 6 herald trumpets sporting the GCC colors and insignia off their bells. This makes for great e’spirit de corp and adds to the “pomp”.
Kennywood park is particularly fun for the band as it is a short route and they get to ride all day for free! Kennywood has numerous college and high school bands performing in their parks throughout the year and has become known for its Fall Fantasy parades. During Fall Fantasy time, over a hundred marching bands march at Kennywood within a couple of short weeks.
If you’ve never been to a park when local or regional marching bands are marching through, your missing something great and something “hometown”! Wherever we go to march there are a number of staunch supporters, local community members and interested family members that show up supporting us, our community and our college. It’s great to see them at the route! It’s a win-win situation for us, those at the park and the host of the parade.
Parade marching can be a flagship for your alma mater. Many times a different crowd of people will come to see a parade than a football game or a concert. For many of them, it’s the first time they become aware of your school or institution. What better way to give a great first impression than a sharp, well-dressed, orderly, disciplined, BOMBASTIC SOUND MACHINE marching down the street!
Do you have any good marching band stories? Please share! :)
P.S. I was talking to the dean of our school the other day and he was commenting on how nice it was that we could use the AstroTurf field at night for our band-camp. I responded that it was great that the coaches let us use their fields after they were done with their rehearsals. To which he laughed, “Joe…you know they don’t call them “rehearsals” don’t you”… Yes, I know! :) but it was band camp…[tags] marching band, kennywood park, grove city college [/tags]
Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D., is an industry innovator, educator, clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many music and education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator in higher education, he made the move into industry in 2018.
As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in many capacities during his tenure including Professor of music, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Associate/Assistant Chair of Music and Fine Arts, Director of Jazz Studies.
He finished his tenure at the college as the Director of Bands, where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Band, and various smaller ensembles. He continues to guest direct bands, consult with music programs, and adjudicate ensembles and programs today.
He has been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association, a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries.
He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, SBO, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications.
He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website: jpisano.com.