Storm shortens Warwick’s marching band competition

By on October 9, 2019

With a full slate of 18 marching bands, this year’s Legend of the Warrior Marching Band competition was scheduled to be one of the largest competitions at Warwick High School in more than 10 years.

A Cavalcade of Bands judged event, Warwick’s competition included ensembles from as far away as Littlestown High School in Adams County, and Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill County.

The plan was for the night to be topped off with a performance on Saturday, Sept. 28 by the University of Delaware Blue Hen Marching Band. Unfortunately, Mother Nature thought otherwise.

A rapidly approaching thunderstorm cell around 8 p.m. resulted in the program being canceled at intermission, and all students returned to their busses for safety reasons.
According to the Warwick School District Administration, rules normally used for PIAA athletic events, which would be similar in attendance and participation, were considered. When lightning is seen from the field, all students are cleared for a minimum of 30 minutes from the last seen lightning strike.

After carefully considering the distance several of the bands traveled, watching weather radar, and realizing further delays would push the event far past the planned 10 p.m. conclusion, a decision was made to cancel the second half of the program.

While Lancaster County bands Columbia and Conestoga Valley High Schools were able to perform, Warwick, Penn Manor, and Hempfield, among others, found their evening cut short.
According to Warwick Band Parent President, Kyle Buckwalter, more than 85 volunteers put in more than 500 combined hours just on the day of the event, which is one of the organization’s largest fundraisers.

The 2019 Legend of the Warrior Marching Band competition was shortened when a storm rolled through Sept. 28. Though 18 bands were scheduled, Dallastown High School band (above) was one of the few to perform. Photos by Brian Evans.

Buckwalter said the organization will be affected by the cancellation.

“Obviously, we won’t do well, but have done well managing our finances the last number of years and are blessed to have great support from our community,” he said.

“We will just have to be frugal this year. Also, we’ll have a couple of other fundraisers as well as our indoor concerts that will help to generate funds,” Buckwalter said.

At Warwick, the district administration covers the cost of marching band staff, instruments, music and transportation, while the Warwick Band Parents cover the cost of props, equipment transportation, and incidentals, while helping students with food, uniform and other costs. Concession Chair Jason Burkholder said he is still doing inventory and gathering final numbers, he expects to only raise about a quarter of the concession funds projected.

Warwick’s 2019 program is called “The Fire Within Us.” The first movement reflects the strain of adversity. The second movement turns reflective with an arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel’s

“The Sound of Silence” and the third movement illustrates overcoming adversity with an arrangement of “The Firebird Finale” by Igor Stravinsky.

This year’s show was written and arranged by Gary P. Gilroy. According to Director Matt Tenaglia, Warwick was ranked 4th overall in the Cavalcade Liberty Division, which consists of 19 school districts in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Cavalcade has more than 145 member schools. The band performed at the Oct. 4 Homecoming football game against Manheim Township. Also on Sept. 28 and just a few miles further south in Neffsville, Manheim Township High School hosted “Showcase in Sight and Sound.”

Eight bands and more than 600 students from the Lancaster County Marching Band Coalition were scheduled to appear in this adjudicated, non-competitive showcase while Millersville University’s Marching Band entertained during intermission.

The “Showcase” was also shortened due to the weather, with performance times moved up and a shortened intermission, but all bands were able to perform. Much like the Warwick show, the

Manheim Township program is also a fundraiser for boosters, who spend also spend hundreds of volunteer hours setting up for and running the “Showcase.”

The funds raised also help cover the expenses the district experiences running a marching band program. Being slightly farther south, the show was not as affected.

Manheim Township Director of Bands Scott Siegel reports while the storm created quite a “light show” backdrop to performances, it did not come close enough to Neffsville to force a pause or cancellation.
As such, the Manheim Township Band Boosters do not anticipate any serious effect on the fundraising aspect of the evening.

Manheim Township’s next Showcase performances will be Oct. 19 at Ephrata High School.

Mark Myers is a freelance writer, photographer, and contributor to the Lititz Record Express. 

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