This weekend, the Providence Catholic High School Marching Celtics made school history and won 1st place at state.
“The Marching Celtics were the Division 1A State Champions for Illinois with a score of 89.92, their highest score to date,” says Mr. Lawrence Rogers, Director of Bands at Providence Catholic. “With the pandemic and all of the restrictions regarding the playing of musical instruments, most high school bands had to pivot their focus on keeping students safe while still providing them with opportunities to perform. We have found a way to still be safe and make music, including our show being written so all players would be seven and a half feet apart and all our students play with instrument covers and masks.”
“We are extremely proud of our band,” says Father John Merkelis, O.S.A., President. “The Marching Celtics faced a challenging task, made even more difficult by restrictions due to the pandemic, and showed that they can rise above any obstacle to obtain their goals. We were thrilled when they won 2nd place at state last year; we are ecstatic that they have exceeded that this year and become something greater, together.”
Though in-person competitions aren’t happening, the team is able to record their performance for submission to competitions across the country. Currently, the Marching Celtics are ranked 3rd nationally among all the other bands in Division 1A as they move into the National Championships next weekend. The Marching Band began working on their current show back in June with five weeks of band camps; they have participated in socially distanced rehearsals each week since the school year started.
“This year has been extraordinary in many ways,” says senior James Baumhardt. “I’m even still happy that I got to march at all, nevertheless compete and perform for virtual audiences and competitions around the U.S. It’s times like these that test the will power of people the most. When something happens, a door always opens for opportunity. I believe we took that opportunity to the greatest degree whilst dealing with the current situation around us. It was hard, it wasn’t the same as a regular marching band season, yet it still felt more real and alive than ever. This band program is amazing for what we are able to achieve. We are more than a band; we are a family.”
“There is no success without growth,” adds senior Bailey Ryba. “Without changing our perspective on the show and on ourselves, we wouldn’t be the confident and energetic family we are today.”
The Marching Celtics have seen continued success throughout their competition season. They placed 2nd out of nine bands in the FloMarching Invitational on 9-26-20; 2nd out of 12 bands in the Yamaha Cup on 10-3-20; 3rd out of 17 bands in the DeMoulin Invitational on 10-10-20; and 2nd out of 18 bands in the Ziljian/VicFirth Challenge on 10-17-20. Additionally, they also competed in “The Cavaliers Gearworks” Competition the same weekend of their State performance and were also 1st place in Division 1A and were 4th overall of all other bands across all divisions.
“I’m so proud of our band! We persevered and accomplished what once seemed impossible. Though this season was different than our typical season, I couldn’t have asked for a better senior marching season,” says senior flutist Kate Davison.
Adds Drum Major Abby Pintoy, “Despite everything this season, I am so grateful for the opportunities given to the band this year. I am so proud of the band for keeping up their energy and positivity and it is because of our teamwork and perseverance that we have been able to be so successful.”
“The PCHS marching has help me realize the potential of good leadership and patient instructors. These leaders have helped us reach places we never thought we could go, including 1st place is so many competitions. I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else for band or for school,” says Morgan Tomaselli, a member of the Color Guard.
The staff members working with the students include Lawrence Rogers – Director of Bands; Lawrence Ball – Colorguard; Katherine Pavlak – Colorguard; John Kelly – Brass and Visual; Sinclair Roechner – Woodwinds; Emily Bebar – Woodwinds; and Peter Grubisich – Percussion.
To view the Marching Celtics performance from the state competition, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LwVzKPoW4E&t=3s.