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Above: On Wednesday, members of the Dougherty and Elash families met with students from the McKeesport Tiger Band to talk about their experiences working in steel mills. The band's 2019 show is entitled "A Day in the Mill." McKeesport's Tournament of Bands begins at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. (Submitted photo courtesy McKeesport Area High School Marching Band, via Facebook.)
If you go...
Tournament of Bands Region 8 competition
Hosted by McKeesport Area High School Marching Band
Where: Weigle-Schaeffer Memorial Stadium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.
Whether a marching band participant or supporter, there are some disadvantages to mostly-Friday-night performances.
There are only so many home football games, and what if it rains and the band doesn’t get to perform? As a supporter, what if your work schedule includes Friday nights?
Or what if your friend or relative is in a marching band in a different school district?
That’s where competitions such as the Tournament of Bands Region 8 Home Show hosted by McKeesport Area High School Marching Band on Saturday, Oct. 12, provide another opportunity not only to see the hometown band perform, but others from the region as well.
In addition to the Tiger band, which performs at 7:30 p.m., eight other high school groups and Seton Hill University Marching Band make up the program.
“It’s been a great season so far,” Tiger band director Drew DeCarlo said, “and the students are liking the show.”
As the host band, McKeesport Area will perform “A Day in the Mill” – a nod to the region’s industrial heritage – for those who have never seen the show or would love to see it again, along with quality musicianship and a theatrical flair from other bands.
McKeesport Area assistant band director Ryan Raible likened band shows to pageantry arts and “performing an entire musical in only eight minutes.”
During band camp and evening practices in August, some McKeesport Area students said they were familiar with life in the mills from talking with relatives who once worked there. But others said they had no personal experience with the subject.
DeCarlo accomplished one of his goals with a “teachable moment that reaches beyond music” when members of the Dougherty and Elash families paid a visit during band class this week to share what it was like to work in a steel mill.
The band director credited the booster group – “They do 90 percent of the work” – with coordinating everything to make hosting possible, from organizing the schedule, manning the concession stand, assigning seating for each band before and after it performs, even finding spaces for buses, trailers, and spectators to park.
East Allegheny and Serra Catholic are among the local participants.
Serra Catholic’s show features a French theme, ranging from “Work Song/At the End of the Day” from “Les Miserables’ to the “Can-Can,” with some interesting use of props and kitchen items.
East Allegheny band will perform its jazzy “New York Dreams” against a New York City skyline backdrop.
Other competitors are Eisenhower High School, Springdale, Derry Area, Youngsville, Penn-Trafford and Connellsville.
Seton Hill University’s marching band completes the show with a performance scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
5 p.m. – Eisenhower High School
5:15 p.m. – Serra Catholic High School
5:30 p.m. – Springdale High School
5:45 p.m. – East Allegheny High School
6 p.m. – Derry Area High School
6:45 p.m. -- Youngsville High School
7 p.m. – Penn-Trafford High School
7:15 p.m. -- Connellsville High School
7:30 p.m. – Home show by McKeesport Area Marching Band
7:45 p.m. – Seton Hill University Marching Band
Bonnijean Cooney Adams is a former McKeesport Daily News editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Originally published October 08, 2019.