PHS alum band to kick off 46th year

For the Daily Call

PIQUA — The Piqua High School Alumni Band will begin its 46th year of performing halftime marching band shows at Alexander Stadium this Friday. The organization is the oldest active high school alumni band in Ohio.

With its roots in the founding of the high school marching band in 1917 by Phillip P. Gates, the alumni band has become a testament to tradition and comradeship, with former Pride of Piqua band members traveling from many parts of Ohio as well as from as far away as Florida and Arizona to participate.

The history and tradition of the local alumni band is especially significant to Stu Shear, who is currently the president of the organization and webmaster of their website. Shear is a long-time trumpet player who has missed only one performance due to illness since becoming a member.

“It’s just a group of us … we play, reminisce, and have fun performing each year,” said Shear. “It can be a challenge with long-distance and various commitments, such as work and family,” he said.

Age isn’t a factor in the band, as there are members like Paul Holfinger, who’s in his late 80’s marching in the band down to the seniors in the current Pride of Piqua.

The organization was granted a 501(c)(3) non-profit status in late 2014 to raise tax-deductible funds to raise money for the instrumental music program in the Piqua City Schools. The groups applies for various grants and accepts private donations through its GoFundMe account at to help raise funds for school instruments.

In addition to Shear as its president, the PHS Alumni Band has an elected executive board that includes Penny Williamson as vice president, Scott Petty as secretary/ treasurer, Sandy Kerns, Barbara Hensley and Paul Holfinger as trustees, Brandi VonAschen as librarian and Randy Cissner as advisor/school liaison and percussion instructor.

The committee meets six times a year. All Alumni Band members and Pride of Piqua seniors are invited to attend the meetings. For times and location, and upcoming events, visit the band’s website at or visit their Facebook page at

For the Daily Call