Knight of sound and celebration as Marching Knights turn 50


Nick Lupinacci

A Knight of Celebration: The NP Marching Knights hosted their annual Knight of Sound on Saturday, October 15, 2022 in NPHS’s Crawford Stadium.

TOWAMENCIN – There was excitement “in the air” on October 15, as the North Penn Marching Knights welcomed local bands to their annual Knight of Sound competition and performed their 2022 show called “In the Air.” The Knights also used this occasion to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the North Penn Marching Band. 

The Knight of Sound is the Marching Knights’ “home show,” a U.S. Bands competition hosted at North Penn High School. The Knight of Sound requires hours of preparation and the dedication of many volunteers. It features a competition among visiting bands, an exhibition performance by the Marching Knights, and booths for raffles, food, and spirit wear. This year there was also a special display of memorabilia from the Marching Knights’ 50-year history that included newspaper articles, photo albums, group photos, and uniforms. In addition to what spectators see in the stadium, the North Penn Music Aides also ensure that the visiting bands have hosts to escort them, run a hospitality suite for the judges, ensure that the awards for the evening are purchased, and take care of dozens of other details to make sure the evening runs smoothly.

The Marching Knights have an impressive show this year with props and uniforms reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting, outstanding solos by multiple band members, and great music featuring Coldplay’s “Yellow” and Phi Collins’s “In the Air Tonight.” So far this season, the Knights have participated in 2 competitions. At each competition, bands compete for awards among other bands of the roughly same size. The Marching Knights, with over 100 members this year, are in the Group V Open class. In their first 2 competitions, the Knights not only received first place in their group (with scores of 79.70 and 85.70, respectively) but got the highest score across all bands in the competition in both. They also won the captions for Best Music, Best Effect, Best Visual, Best Percussion and Best Color Guard in the competitions. Although they don’t formally compete in their own home show, the Knights do receive a score “behind the scenes” from the judges for their exhibition show, and this weekend, the Knights got a score of 90.90.    

Steve Malagari, the Pennsylvania State Representative for the 53rd District was in attendance Saturday night to present the North Penn Marching Knights with a citation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to honor their 50th anniversary. In presenting the award, he recapped moments over the past 50 years that have contributed to North Penn’s reputation for having a highly successful marching band. These included playing at the Orange Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Indianapolis 500, and multiple Fiesta Bowls, as well as providing music for the movies Blowout and Rocky V. They have also won multiple state and national championships including the Group IV Open state, regional and nationals championships last year. 

During the 50th anniversary celebration, dozens of alumni of the North Penn Marching Knights marched onto the field holding a 50th Anniversary banner. Mr. Joseph Santanello, the current director of the Marching Knights, had a chance to talk with many of the alumni during the Knight of Sound.

“We had people all the way back to 1972, and I was able to talk to a whole bunch of them about their experiences, and they were really excited to come back,” Santanello stated. 

Santanello also talked about what it is like to direct a marching band with such a distinguished history. 

“I think it’s awesome to be the director of a group like this that has such a great history.  Even though we’ve been around for 50 years, I’m only the 5th director.  Every director has been here for a long period of time and put a lot of effort and care into continuing the legacy.

Santanello would like to be at North Penn High School for the rest of his career but mentioned that there is definitely some pressure that comes with his role. He wants the band to continue to be successful because of the history behind it.

The Marching Knights have 3 competitions left this season: the State Championships on October 22, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships on October 29 and the National Championships on November 5. Although highly competitive marching bands continue to add to their shows throughout the season, Mr. Santanello said that this year’s show is 98% complete at this point. He also mentioned that the 3rd section of the show, featuring Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight,” is his favorite part. 

If you haven’t had a chance to see the 2022 Marching Knights, they will perform their show for a final time at home at Community Knight on November 7 at Crawford Stadium. Don’t miss it!