PHS band shows off ‘superior’ skills

By Belinda M. Paschal -

PIQUA — Over the weekend, the Piqua High School marching band demonstrated yet again why they’re known as the “pride” of this community.

In order for a high school marching band to qualify for state contest, the group must garner at least four ratings of “superior” — the highest rating in the judging system. On Saturday, Sept. 26, the 100 contestants from PHS surpassed that goal, earning five “superior” and two “excellent” ratings at the Northwestern High School Band Fest in Springfield.

“We took first place in our class, Class A, and third place overall,” said band director Mitch Mahaney, noting that PHS faced off against seven other competing bands. “We got best color guard and best percussion.”

The band performed its competition show, “The Machine” by Texas composer Jair Klarfeld.

“It’s all original music in three movements that depict the different aspects of a machine,” Mahaney explained. “It’s kind of a steampunk-influenced idea, with a mix of different elements.”

Much more goes into such competitions than just playing a few songs for a couple of judges. According to Mahaney, the contestants were rated by a panel of nine that included two music judges, two general effects judges, a visual performance judge and a visual effects judge, as well as two auxiliary judges who judge the color guard, and a percussion judge.

Visual elements play a large role in enhancing the instrumental aspect of the performance.

“On the field, we had 10 8-foot-diameter gears and another backdrop with the title of the show and a bunch of gears. That’s another way we portray the idea of the show,” Mahaney said.

Don’t think that this victory will leave the band resting on its laurels. Instead, they will be working hard to turn those two “excellent” ratings into “superior” ones, Mahaney said.

“As the season goes on, the judging gets tougher, so we’re working on continuing to get ‘superior’ ratings.”

Next up, the band will go to New Bremen High School for a competition on Oct. 10, followed by an Oct. 17 invitational on their home turf that will draw 18 bands from this area, Cincinnati and Columbus, then they’ll visit Springfield’s Shawnee High School for another competition before state contest on Nov. 1.

“When we start this whole process in July, that’s the ultimate goal — to go to state,” Mahaney said.

He said he and fellow director Carl Phlipot, as well as all of the PHS staff are proud of the students.

“They’ve worked hard since July and we’ve been happy with the progress they’ve made all season,” he said. “We just want to see them do well and have fun. They deserve it … they’re the best kids around.”

By Belinda M. Paschal

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.

Reach Belinda M. Paschal at (937) 451-3341 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.