Blue and Gold Marching Band Dominating the Competition

By Laura Myers –

The Penn Manor Marching Unit does more then play the national anthem and razz up the crowds at football games. PMMU is one of many bands in the area that competes in the Cavalcade of the Bands Association and so far in the competition, the Penn Manor Marching Unit has killed their opponents this year with their show entitled “Insurrection.”

“We’ve won many awards this season, we won high visual awards high music awards, the percussion has won a number of specialty awards and then the three first place finishes that we’ve gotten at competitions,” said Tom Mumma the director of the Penn Manor Marching Unit (PMMU).

Color Guard Memember Michelle Resh As She Prepares To Kill Drummer Jesse Griffith During Practice. Photo Courtesy Of Sabrina Kurtz

This weekend PMMU had added to their impressive record of awards at the 10th annual Manheim Central

Marching Barons Invitational held at Manheim Central high school, with another first place win along with High percussion and High auxiliary (guard). These two specialized awards mean PMMU was the best in those categorizes out of all the bands that had competed. The marching unit now has 4 first place wins a second place win and countless “High” awards.

“It’s a very fun show, we get to kill people, people die,” said junior and flutes and clarinet section leader Natosha Polaski.

Insurrection tells a tale of two rivals continually battling for power and land.

“Conflict is an easy topic that teenagers know about,” said  Mumma

The show is made up of three movements, each with it’s own distinct visuals and music.

“It’s more of a story this year instead of a theme. In our past shows like Earth was last year so it was just one thing per movement, but this year it’s just telling a story so it’s a lot more fun. It’s really intense, I love the intensity,” said Kelly Herr Senior Trumpet Section Leader

In the first movement, the trumpet assembles his clan for another day, when abruptly the enemy strikes. The clan battles to defend itself and during the battle a member is slain during the enemy’s vicious attack.

In the second movement the group realizes the tragedy that has struck them and mourns the loss of their fallen comrade.

After memorializing the fallen, the clan plans a strike of their own, pursuing revenge against the enemy in the final movement of the show.

While the band plays the music, the guard acts out the story.

Co-guard captain and junior Ashley Miller had said, “We are the emotions of the show we tell the story of what’s going on what’s gonna’ happen next.”

The Penn Manor Marching Unit competes in the Liberty Division along with 20 other bands, in the Cavalcade of the Bands Association, along with neighboring school district Lampeter-Strasburg.

“We kind of have a friendly rivalry with LS, (who) we’re all kind of friends with but it’s still there,” said Weston Chambers, a senior and low brass  brass section leader.

Along with LS, PMMU may have some other rivals.

“Two years ago we had one with Hatboro Horsham, which they are ahead of us right now so I guess the rivalry is back,” mentioned Chambers.

Mumma said, “We’re ranked third behind Hatboro Horsham and Southern Regional which are two very good programs.”

“Even though were not in first place right now, we have been elevating our score every week and I’m so proud of the entire band for all of the hard work they’re doing and it’s just a great season altogether,” said senior and co-drum major Tim Duebler.

But with the sweet taste of success comes continuing hard work to stay on top.

Senior, horn and saxes section leader Maranda Kurtz said “We practice Tuesday,Thursday, Friday and a really long time Saturday. And Saturday is completely spent practicing and then going to a competition where we get scored on our performance and we compete with about 30 other bands in our district. ”

PMMU competed Saturday in the Festival of the Bands, hosted at Littlestown High School, where they had their third first place win. But the win didn’t come so easily.

“We move very fast on the field and not a lot of other bands do that so judges aren’t necessarily prepared for getting out of the way with our kids and sometimes they run into them unfortunately and usually it’s just a bump here or there,” said Mumma.  “But this past weekend, when we were at Littlestown, one of the guard girls fell pretty hard because the judge couldn’t get out of the way in time.”

A win never tasted so sweet to the band after a close loss at their last competiton at Lancaster Catholic.

“It was two tenths of a point kept us out of first place because one judge just didn’t get the show which we didn’t see before and havn’t seen after that. So you know it would have been nice to have all first place instead of one second place. But we know that we were probably the better band that night, if it wasn’t for one judge we would of gotten first at that one too,” said Mumma.

PMMU will be competing in the Liberty Divsion championship which will be held on November 13 at Millersville Stadium.

“I expect we’ll be at least top five [going into championships] but if we continue to make progress like we have this season, I don’t see why we wouldn’t go in first or second,” said Mumma