During the 2019-2020 competition season, the current edition of the Loyalsock Lancers Marching Band has earned the right to be called “one of the best, if not the best in the history of Loyalsock Township High School,” that is the opinion of their hard-working director, Ryan Bulgarelli.
According to Director Bulgarelli, the band has broken all of the school records for competition scoring, including setting the highest competition score ever achieved in school history (94.05) and best placement at Atlantic Coast Championships (6th). The 2019 Lancer Marching Band also won the school’s second Cavalcade of Band Championship, building upon its first championship in 2017.
“The Lancer Marching Band placed 6th in a 13-state region and competed against schools with populations three to four times our size at ACCs. That being said, we are incredibly proud of the time, effort, hard work, and dedication that our students have put into this year’s production,” Bulgarelli told Webb Weekly. “Our 2019 show, entitled “Heart of the Machine,” has proven to be an audience favorite, frequently leaving spectators on their feet cheering or with tears in their eyes. Our story of the Tin Man’s journey to find his heart has resonated with band and audience members alike, and we are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to share our artistic and inspirational story with audiences this year.”
Outside of the marching band, he said they are incredibly proud to offer their students a robust and holistic music education experience. The Symphonic Band has grown to over 90 members that meet to make music every day at LTHS. The vocal music program has been recognized by the Community Theatre League, being nominated for and winning several Ray of Light Awards in the past few years. Their students represent Loyalsock at local, regional, and statewide events, and they are incredibly proud of the music that they make and the young men and women that they have become.
“Collaboration is the key to our success in keeping things fresh. We love to have guests come in and work with our students, including our other band directors within the district,” said Bulgarelli. “Both our Middle School (Mr. David Tini) and Elementary School (Mrs. Emily Brumbaugh Tini) band directors are great to work with and love to collaborate as well. We are able to frequently find time to work with each other’s kids and get the students to make music together. This year, we had over 100 elementary students attend 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. Our students love the opportunity to inspire the next generation of Loyalsock musicians! Our choral program also thrives when collaborating. Our HS/MS Choir Director, Amanda Coughenour, and Elementary Choir Director, Caroline Fish, had planned an “All-District Choral Concert” for April, which would have featured over 500 students singing together on one stage! Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
He said in addition to working as a team, the students also are recognized on an individual basis. Every year, students are able to audition for PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators’ Association) District, Regional, and State level honor ensembles. These students go “above and beyond” with their individual study and advanced musicianship. This year, they have had several students qualify for the 2020 PMEA District 8 Honors Festivals. They are Harrison Frear (alto saxophone), Evelyn Griffith (soprano voice), 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). Of those students, several also advanced to PMEA Regional Festivals; they are Harrison Frear (alto saxophone), Evelyn Griffith (soprano voice), Emily Huskin (euphonium), David Hutchinson (trumpet), Zackary Keller (tuba), Brendan Kriner (trumpet), Collin Porter (trombone). They are still awaiting the results of our potential PMEA All-State musicians, as the COVID-19 outbreak has put a temporary halt to the audition process.
Bulgarelli added, “Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many of our Spring plans have been canceled or postponed. Our students, families, and community members are coping with the new reality that musical events like our Spring Musical Production of ‘Pippin,’ Spring Band Concerts, and Marching Band Trip to Disney all must be put on hold. While this news is heartbreaking for all of us, we have been able to find joy and comfort in the communication and music-making that we’ve been able to experience in a remote environment.
“To make the most of our current times, students are still attending band lessons via the ZOOM platform. Students still get to interact with each other and make music to the best of our ability using iPad applications like SmartMusic. Additionally, we are in the planning stages of rescheduling our marching band trip to Disney for a later date in the Fall, including the members of the Class of 2020.
“This time away has been especially difficult for the students and parents of the Class of 2020. This outstanding group of young men and women have redefined what it means to be a member of our Loyalsock Band family. Through their work, leadership, passion, and love, they have challenged all of us, myself included, to be better musicians and people. I know that they will all go on to lead incredible lives, undoubtedly making our world a better place to live in, and I cannot wait to see what their future holds. The Class of 2020 has changed all of us for the better, and for that, I will always be grateful.
“Moments like prom, graduation, and their last senior band concert cannot be replaced. I cannot emphasize it enough, there simply is no real replacement for the incredible experience that our students have through making music together. That being said, we have learned so much about the character of our students, families, and community through these challenging times. Our time away from each other has reminded us how lucky we are to be a part of something so special. It has confirmed our belief that being a member of the Loyalsock Band was never really about coming into the school or the band room. Rather, our experience together has always been built upon the relationships we develop through our common love of music. Our students’ experience in band and music is so much more than just a class; it is a family. Although we do not know when we will be able to meet again in person, we all are optimistically looking forward to the moment when we can unite again to make music together. The hope for that day keeps us moving forward and reminds us how special it is to be able to make music in the Township.”
According to Bulgarelli, accomplishments like these do not happen without the support of an entire community. The Loyalsock Township Music Department is fortunate to have the support of the whole Township, including the Loyalsock Township School Board, administrative team, building principals, teachers, faculty, and staff. The music department has been recognized as an 11-time “National Best Community for Music Education,” and they take great pride in the music experiences that are provided to all students within the Loyalsock Township community.
“Finally, 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,” Bulgarelli declared. “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! They are Ryder Haines (percussion) and David Hutchinson (trumpet). Ryder will be attending Penn State University in the Fall, and David is considering Messiah College, Northwestern University, and Penn State University.”