Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

The 2003 competitive marching band season started early in August as Tyrone Area High School band members gave up their summer vacations in exchange for daily rehearsals and drill.
The season got off to a quick start with a few new staff members and a new drill designer from Boston, Mass. according to a news release from Tyrone Area Director of Bands Kris Laird.
“Although it was a difficult start, the work ethic and drive of the band pushed forward,” said Laird regarding the beginning of the season.
The first competition was at Bellwood-Antis. The band brought home first place honors over DuBois Area and Indiana Valley as well as the award for high music and a score of 75.7.
The second week of competition was at home in Tyrone. Band boosters worked for weeks and it seemed everything was taken care of but according to Laird, “Mother Nature had the best performance of the evening. Rain forced the event to quickly be relocated to the high school gymnasium for an indoor stand-still performance.”
The event went off smoothly but scores did not count for visiting bands due to the inclement weather.
October started off with a trip to DuBois where Tyrone went up against seven bands. Tyrone scored a 78.7 finishing in third place behind two bands from the Pittsburgh area. Senior Drum Major Wendi Taylor brought home the award for high drum major in group two competition.
The Tyrone Area Marching Band competed next at Conemaugh Township. The band finished in first place with a score of 82.0 and trophies in four different categories.
Competition for week five of the season was held in Williamsport. The event featured 17 bands including five from group II. Tyrone finished second to Wyoming Area with an 84.4 score. The school received some special individual awards including ones for high percussion and high drum major.
The final week of October, the marching band traveled to the Lackawanna County Stadium in Scranton for the Pocono Mountain East Show. There were 27 bands in attendance. Tyrone had to go up against seven of those bands, five of which where in the top 25 of 93 bands in group II. The school band finished sixth in the competition with a 85.55 score. Laird pointed out this was a full four points higher than the seventh place finisher.
“We were proud to accept the group II pit crew award that was graciously accepted by our own pit crew chief, Jim Taylor,” said Laird as he detailed some of the highlights of the major event. A hand-crafted award and certificate was presented.
At the end of the awards, Tyrone received another surprise according to Laird.
The Tyrone Band received the first-ever Russell Speichher “esprit de Corp” award for overall band spirit and enthusiasm. The band and its fans were selected by a panel of judges at the show as displaying the spirit and enthusiasm reflecting that of long-time band director at Pocono Mountain High School, Mr. Russell Speicher.
In November, the band traveled to IUP for the Chapter XI Championships. Tyrone placed first in this event with a score of 89.3, finishing ahead of DuBois, St. Mary’s, Greater Johnstown and Elk County Catholic.
The 2003 Tyrone Band brought home the Chapter XI Championship for the second time under the direction of Laird and received the opportunity to travel to the Atlantic Coast Championships in Scranton the following weekend.
Tyrone’s score landed them in the 23rd spot out of 25 bands from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio and New York.
Tyrone traveled once again to Scranton on Nov. 9 to perform its final competitive show of the season. The band competed with more than two dozen top bands. Tyrone finished 24th in the competition.
“This year’s band was awesome. I think anyone who had the opportunity to watch them perform throughout the season could see the obvious improvement that the band went through in a short time,” said Laird in giving his assessment of this year’s efforts. “We really challenged them with a tough show this year and it worked, the kids poured their hearts out at practice and at every performance of the season to make their performance better and they did.
“We have a lot of really talented students in this town and the band is further proof of the diversity and level of talent we have here. Tyrone has so much to proud of and represented by and it is a great pleasure for me as band director to have these kids in my band,” said Laird in commenting on this year’s group.
Finally, Laird expressed thanks to the band parents and community members for their support of this year’s Tyrone Area Marching Band.

By Rick