Marching to state glory

North Penn Marching Knights capture PA Group IV Open State Championship


Image courtesy of NPMK Facebook page

The NPMK capture the 2021 Group IV Open State Championship on October 23, 2021

October 23rd proved to be a triumphant night for the North Penn Marching Knights as they earned the title of Pennsylvania Group IV Open State Champions. Dedication, drive, and diligence carried the Knights to this unforgettable win Saturday night.

With competition days lasting between 12 and 16 hours, the Marching Knights continually have a packed schedule. Lastt Saturday, their day began with a 5-hour rehearsal, which was immediately followed by their traditional State Championships Day celebration. This celebration entails a special meal that members enjoy in the cafeteria, prior to the competition later that same day. They also receive gifts and favors from their parents, based on the theme of the show.

“This year our show is called Skybound, and it’s about flight and a young boy dreaming of becoming a pilot and then growing up and realizing his dream. So, there’s all kinds of plane themes in the show, there’s toy plane props that they use, their uniforms look like pilot uniforms, and so on. They get all these gifts and food and things that are along that theme,” Joe Santanello, director of the Marching Knights, explained.

After the celebration ends, the competition begins. The Marching Knights next participated in the Open State Championship, where they scored a 90.6 out of 100 and won awards for both Best Percussion and Best Visual at West Chester University.

“Third place got hit, alright, that was them. Second place, you know you always have that pounding thing. I’m on the field, I can’t fidget cause I’m in position. They call out the other band, and I’m like, ‘aw, we got first place, that’s really cool; still gotta keep it professional, though.’ We were the last band of the night, and we got the highest score of the night out of all the bands in all the divisions,” said Abby Thornton, president of the Marching Knights.

The success of the Marching Knights begins with each individual member. Remarkable hard work and commitment is present in every Marching Knight, and the teamwork and drive they demonstrate leads them to victory.

“Even during regular day practices we have the drive to work and to make it perfect, and you wanna be the best that you can be for this. It’s not really a, ‘oh, I’ll get it next time.’ It’s one performance. It’s how you are in practice, and the more consistent you are in practice and the more you work, when you actually get your one chance to perform, you’ll feel a lot more confident and feel good about what you’re doing,” Thornton stated.

This year provides special experiences for the newer members of the Marching Knights, as their season last year was limited due to COVID-19.

“This year is great because this is the new members’ first real band season, you know, going to football games, going to the competitions; not just videotaping it on the turf field and then sending it out,” Thornton said.

With next year being the fiftieth year of the Marching Knights, they are always looking for new members and ways to expand. An ice cream social meet-and-greet is held toward the end of May every year for students in both middle and high school. Free ice cream is offered as well as information about the program for students interested in joining.

“Long term, we want the band to grow. As early as fifthteen or twenty years ago, there would be more like 130 to 140 members, but here, now, it’s been around 80 to 90 members for a pretty long time. So, I do want us to try to grow as an organization and get back over 100 members,” Santanello stated.

The North Penn Marching Knights will next compete in Regional Championships on October 30th.