SHENANDOAH - Led by a new director, the Shenandoah Valley Marching Band is preparing for the 2017 Season this week, week two of their Band Camp.
John Shoener, a 2017 graduate of Penn State University, was hired by the Shenandoah Valley School District in June as 5-12 Music Instructor and Band Director, replacing outgoing director Walter Choplick, who took a job at Gettysburg, Adams County.
"We had two evening practices in mid-July, and then we went into the two weeks of band camp. We're halfway through the second week right now," Shoener said Wednesday. "We've been learning our four songs. Our show this year is called 'Sounds of the Summer'."
The field show, which Shoener says is designed to "cater to the football crowd" using popular songs, consists of "Lips are Movin" by Megan Trainor, "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake, "Light 'Em Up" by Fall Out Boy, and "Shut up and Dance" by Walk the Moon.
Shoener, a Pottsville native and the son of Pottsville Area Band Director Craig Shoener, says, growing up in Schuylkill County and in a musical family will help him as Shenandoah's band director.
"I've been around music my whole life. My dad started at North Schuylkill High School for 25 years, and then he ended up going to Pottsville for my senior year, so I saw, from both sides, as a student, how the relationship should be with the director, and how they influence the decisions," Shoener said. "He's really taught me that it should be a very student-driven activity, you're just the facilitator of it, that the kids should have a say, and you have the final say obviously, but you make sure they're involved in the decision making process, and that makes everyone happy, and makes the band sound better too."
This year's marching band consists of 35 students, including musicians and bandfront.
Staff includes Josh Kovich, Assistant Director; Lexi Tornatore, Color Guard Instructor; Jordan Franko, Percussion Instructor; Jacob Shoener; Sarah Williams; and Chris Swantek.
Band Officers for 2017 are: Noelle Davis, Senior, Drum Major; Sean James, Junior, President; Angelina Tovar, Junior, Vice President; Valentina Thomas, Secretary; Jacqueline Bubnis, Freshman, Treasurer; Kayla Perrong, Sophomore, Historian/Librarian; Megan Bell, Freshman, Co-Uniform Manager; Kaitlyn Carduff, Freshman, Co-Uniform Manager; Lena Bell, Freshman, Co-Equipment Manager; and Heather Maurer, Junior, Co-Equipment Manager.
A potential combined band performance is in the works with Mahanoy Area's Marching Band ahead of the August 11 Alumni Football Game between the two schools. Football Season for Shenandoah Valley begins on August 25 at 7:00pm, against North Schuylkill