• Matt Hensel

Pocono Mountain East Marching Band: A Source of Community Pride.

[Warning: The following is written by a newly initiated Band-Dad who is drunk with pride for his daughter, alma-matter, and community.]

If you didn't hear, the Pocono Mountain East Marching band performed at the 2019 NYC Veteran's Day Parade. Under the guidance of Tim Eick and William Bock with support from their staff and the Pocono Mountain Cardinals Boosters, the PMEMB put on a mile-long show for the crowds on 5th avenue.

I spent the last few months going to almost every football game and marching band competition. I watched this group of eighth through twelfth graders merge into a cohesive unit that continued to play louder and more confidently with every performance. As the band grew, so did my daughter and, her mother and I couldn't be more proud.

If you need a lesson on the meaning of unity, go to a high school football game and take notice of the marching bands. Watching one school's marching band root for another school's marching band is the stuff chills are made of. It goes beyond traditional sportsmanship. PMEMB has a tradition that I, in my short tenure as a Band-Dad, have not witnessed other teams display. After performing their show at a football game, they run over to the other band and play a song affectionately known as the "Ying Yang." If you don't get butterflies or the urge to clap along, you're dead inside and should seek professional help. In a time when we are divided into a tribal culture, I cannot think of anything more inspiring than watching two hundred kids divided by school colors, dancing together to the "Ying Yang." The PMEMB is producing well-rounded souls. They are disciplined but demonstrative, competitive by caring, and rowdy but respectful.

PMEMB is fun to watch. I mean no disrespect to other marching bands. Some are regimented; some have a traditional playlist; some cannot match the size and volume of our band. They all have their merits, but I happen to enjoy our group immensely. For those band kids or parents reading this, Song 15 (Seven Nation Army/Kernkraft 400) is my unabashed favorite.

Again, if you don't find yourself clapping, bobbing your head, or stomping your foot, then please seek help. If song 15 isn't your thing, they will also blast out "Fireball," "Cheerleader," "Believer," and, of course, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." Every night ends with the final verse of our alma mater, "The school that in our hearts will always be

PO-CO-NO" and you'll find this forty-one-year-old, that graduated in the 50th percentile, standing up with glassy eyes.

Parents, volunteers, and donations funded this trip to NYC and will fund next year's trip to a competition in Nashville. In fact, without contributions, several less fortunate students would not have been able to attend. Through generosity, PMEMB was able to put their best foot forward. Unfortunately, you won't be able to catch a marching band performance till next season. However, please consider reaching out to the Pocono Mountain Music Boosters to see how you can help them get on every stage possible.

What started out in a parking lot under the oppressive August sun, ended on the street with a cold November breeze blowing up 5th avenue. I look forward to next season when I'll again get to hear the rousing sound of the Pocono Mountain East Marching Band and their unique cadence.



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