One small band, one big sound

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Small, loud, and vivacious – the Parkersburg Catholic Marching Band is this week’s Band of the Week. They’re only 9 years old and 17 members strong, but they produce a sound as loud as a band triple their size and quintuple their experience.

“We only have about fifteen students in our band, but I would rival the heart and the sound that we have up with any school in the area,” said Ben Vierheller, a flute player.

That sound is powered by a relatively large percussion section, and this year they get to rock through a show dedicated to Green Day. They’re playing several of the band’s popular songs, including “Holiday” and “Wake Me up When September Ends.”

“The variety of tempo, it keeps the music interesting and keeps us more in tune to what’s happening because you always have to keep in mind what the tempo is going to do because in the course of a few measures it could totally change,” said Percussionist Aidan Roberts.

Crusaders have to memorize each and every song, and because marching band is a class at PCHS, they’re even graded on memorization.

“Students receive a grade for having memorized the music and having memorized the music they’re able to focus on the marching. So they can polish the marching and they don’t have to worry about the notes,” said Director Jeff Treadway.

Marching band is a class at Parkersburg Catholic, and they don’t practice together outside of school because many of the students are involved in other extracurriculars. One trumpeter is even on the football team.

“It’s definitely hard, because going from playing a full half of football to playing in the band and having to march and having to go back and play. Don’t get much of a break,” said Joel Stophel, a trumpeter and football player.

The band may only have seventeen members, but in the brief nine years the program has existed, they’ve grown in ways other than size.

“I know that before I was in the band, they started out without uniforms. I believe they just wore jeans and t shirts. And now we’ve got uniforms, fully developed half time shows and movements and I believe that we’re one of the fan favorites in the area,” said Vierheller.

Despite that growth, they’re still a small band and Director Treadway even said some people don’t realize Parkersburg Catholic has a band. However, many people are impressed with the crusaders.

“It’s a commonly known phrase. ‘we are small, but we are mighty.’ We play, a lot of people that compliment us after the parades or performances say that we are just as loud if not louder than any of the other bands here in Parkersburg. And I feel like that’s something that makes us unique,” said Drum Major Grace Pedersen.