PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area High School Band has been working hard the last four weeks to show that even though they are smaller this year, they won’t be any quieter.
The band holds night practices for two weeks, then moves into band camp for the two weeks leading up to the start of the school year. They put in two 40-hour weeks leading up to their first performance.
“These kids have worked really hard this year, and I’m super proud of them,” Band Director Kurt Cessner said.
This year the band has 64 members, 51 wind instruments and 13 percussion. They are significantly smaller than last year, but still large for the area. The officers this year are President Juliana Shaffer, Vice President Samuel Rodgers, Web Master Jordan Gillen, Secretary/Librarian Mackenzie Martin, Treasurer Jenna Dien, and Librarian Lily Davie.
The band is led by band Director Kurt Cessner, drum majors Mason Johnston, and Madison Barr, and Commanding officer Kylie Roseberger.
The position of commanding officer is uncommon among high school bands, but is popular in college settings. The position was added to give the band a problem solver, Cessner said, adding that it is an honorary position that must be earned and is given to an upperclassman.
The band’s first big performance will be a parade this Sunday in Kennywood. The band participates in the parade every year, and the members are looking forward to it. Their first game will be next Friday.
“I like the experiences with marching band, and getting to do all the parades,” said Drum Major Madison Barr.
Being the drum majors is something juniors Johnston and Barr have been hoping for since joining the band. Barr said her older sister was a drum major, so she was happy to be granted the title as well.
Songs the band will play this year include “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, “Every Time we Touch” by Cascada, “Show Me How You Boogie” by Christina Aguilera, and “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Their parade song this year will be “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon.
The band has 50 sets of drills they must learn before they begin performances. They also have what Cessner referred to as “shenanigans” during their performances. These are small dance moves and turns they have added as additional entertainment. They are the only band in the area to do this.
They will be starting one of their most popular fundraisers soon, with Cherrydale Farms. The band is planning a trip to Florida next year, so they need to raise a lot of money in preparation.