Loyalsock Marching Band achievements receive recognition, awards
For 58 years, the Loyalsock Township High School Lancer Marching Band has been creating a musical backdrop for the school’s varsity football team, but, according to band director Ryan Bulgarelli, that’s not all these award-winning musicians are all about. In 2017, the Lancer Marching Band won its first Cavalcade of Bands Championship and in the fall of 2019, added its second win.
This nonprofit organization is composed of more than 100 member schools and provides an opportunity to compete on the interscholastic level. In addition, the 20-time Tournament of Bands Region IV Champions performed at the 2015 National Outback Bowl Parade and Festival and is the only band in North America to open for the world-renowned performing group “Drumline LIVE.”
This year’s band, Bulgarelli said, has proven to be one of the best in school history, breaking all of the school records for competition scoring, including setting the highest competition score ever achieved in school history and best placement at Atlantic Coast Championships, among other achievements.
Bulgarelli became the director of bands at Loyalsock Township High School, including the Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Lancer Marching Band, Jazz Band and Basketball Pep Band, seven years ago as a 22-year-old graduate of Penn State University and the Shreyer Honors College, where he majored in music education and marched with the Penn State Blue Band. He also received a master’s degree in music education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
“I coach our small chamber ensembles and teach music electives such as guitar and digital studio recording at the high school,” Bulgarelli said. “I also currently serve as the fine arts coordinator for the Loyalsock Township School District.”
He credits the “dynamic duo” Bob and Aegina Leidhecker for creating the family atmosphere that Bulgarelli said makes music-making special at Loyalsock.
“The two, who taught middle school and elementary school band in Loyalsock as a husband-and-wife team for decades, truly established the family environment that we still carry on today,” he said.
That team mentality continues, with educators at all of the district’s buildings supporting each other and working toward a common goal to support students. Collaboration, Bulgarelli said, is the key to success and welcoming guests to work with students is a great way to do that. He and David Tini, middle school band director, and Emily Brumbaugh Tini, elementary school band director, frequently find time to work with each other’s kids and encourage the students to make music together. At one special event during this year’s football season, more than 100 elementary students attended a Friday night football game to join the Lancer Marching Band on the field.
“It was an awesome sight to see the future of the Lancer Marching Band on the field with our current members,” he said. “Our students love the opportunity to inspire the next generation of Loyalsock musicians.”
Some students, Bulgarelli added, go above and beyond with their individual study and advanced musicianship and have qualified for the 2020 Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association District 8 Band and Orchestra Festivals. Students include: Harrison Frear (alto saxophone), Ian Hornberger (tuba), Emily Huskin (euphonium), David Hutchinson (trumpet), Zackary Keller (tuba), Brendan Kriner (trumpet), Collin Porter (trombone), Alejandro Quintana (violin), Andres Quintana (cello) and Grace Shaible (violin).
“As a music teacher, one of the most rewarding experiences is seeing students become inspired to follow your own career path and look towards becoming music educators themselves,” he said. “This year, we are incredibly proud of two young men who have put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to work towards becoming future music educators and bringing the joy and gift of music to future students. I know that they will change lives through their teaching and I’m proud to have been able to play a small role in their journey.”
Student Ryder Haines, percussion, will attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Penn State University and David Hutchinson (trumpet) is considering Messiah College, Penn State University and Northwestern University.
Bulgarelli said the next few months will be an exciting time for the Loyalsock band program. The Lancer Marching Band will be recognized on the floor of the Pennsylvania State Congress in February and will perform at Disney World in April.