Upper Moreland was once known as ‘The Music Capital of America,’ a description that dates back to the days when John Philip Sousa and his famous marching band performed at Willow Grove Park.
In keeping with that longstanding tradition, the Upper Moreland High School Marching Band is getting ready for another year of entertaining the Upper Moreland community and making them proud.
“They’re off-the-scale great,” Jeff Shaw, who handles publicity for the Upper Moreland Music Patrons, said. “Music in Upper Moreland is a giant tradition.”
Shaw’s daughter, who graduated from UMHS last year, was a member of the marching band.
Even though he no longer has a child in marching band, Shaw said that he still wants to support the band students as a ‘grunt.’ Shaw explained that grunts are parents of current or former band students who make repairs to, transport and quickly set up the band equipment on sports fields during games or competitions.
In the last eight years that Shaw has been a grunt, he said he has never seen so many students sign-up for marching band. “There are 100 students in band this year,” Shaw said. “I’m tickled. I can’t wait to see them compete.”
Aside from cheering on the home teams during games, UMHS marching band also competes with other high school marching bands.
During the Nov. 12, 2010 national championships marching band competition, held in Annapolis, MA, the UMHS marching band finished 11th out of 24 bands in the Group Four division (bands with low 70 to 100 members).
Since Monday, this year’s marching band have had a rigorous rehearsal schedule, meeting nearly every day for several hours each day.
A community preview night has been set for this Thursday, Aug. 25, from 7:30 - 9p.m. at Upper Moreland High School.
“We do this for everybody,” Shaw said. “So, they can show how hard they’ve been working for the past two weeks.”