PENNSBURY >> In a spectacle of music, drama and sound, musicians maneuvered across Falcon Field with military precision as flags twirled through the air Saturday night.
Pennsbury High School hosted its 16th annual Marching Band Festival under crystal clear skies as music and movement filled the athletic field with a visual explosion of sights and sounds.
Marching onto the field to perform in this year’s festival were some of the best high school marching bands in the region including William Tennent and Harry S Truman from Bucks County, Cheltenham High School from Montgomery County and Cherry Hill High School East and Montgomery High School, both from New Jersey.
Cherry Hill, Montgomery and William Tennent received superior ratings while Cheltenham and Truman received outstanding ratings. Montgomery won for best woodwinds and brass, best music and best marching. Cheltenham won best drum major and best color guard. And Cherry Hill won for best percussion.
In addition, the festival featured an exhibition performance by Pennsbury’s own “Long Orange Line.” Drum major Reed Grumann led the band in this year’s field show, “Celebration of a New Day,” arranged by marching band director Frank Mazzeo.
The festival capped off Pennsbury’s competition season, which included appearances at the Music in Cadence competition in West Deptford, New Jersey, and the Region Three Band Championships at Appoquinimink High School in Middletown, Delaware.
“We did very well this year. We were first place in region three for Tournament of Bands. We also won for best percussion, best drum major and best overall music,” said Mazzeo.
Having performed at the Philadelphia Pulaski Parade and in the 10th Annual Lower Makefield Veterans Parade and Ceremony on Nov. 6, the band’s upcoming performance schedule includes being the featured honor band for the 33rd consecutive year in the 6ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, the hugely popular West Chester Old Fashioned Christmas Parade on Dec. 2 and the Yardley Olde-Fashioned Christmas Parade on Dec. 3.
In addition, next spring the band will perform in the Bucks County St. Patrick’s Day Parade, travel to Washington, D.C. in April to perform in the annual Cherry Blossom Parade and march in memory of fallen veterans at Memorial Day Parades in Yardley and Falls Township.
With performances on five continents and all five Disneylands, the Pennsbury High School Marching Band is internationally recognized as one of the premiere high school bands in the United States.
The band has the distinction of being the only band to have performed at all five Disneylands in Florida, California, Japan, France and China as well as in Tianamen Square in Beijing China and on the Great Wall of China.
In 2008, the band was the featured half-time performers at the International Rugby Tournament, “Hong Kong Sevens,” in Hong Kong, China. Two years later, in 2010, the Long Orange Line traveled to England to perform in London New Year’s Day Parade. In 2012, the band traveled south of the equator for the first time to perform in the “First International Festival of Military and Civilian Bands” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In March 2016, the band headed south of the equator again, this time to Australia, its fifth continent, to participate in the Royal Easter Parade in Sydney, Australia.
And the band has been selected to appear in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on New Year’s Day, pending school board approval.
“Out of 400 bands they chose 14 so we’re pretty excited about that,” said Mazzeo.