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Celtic Sensation Sweeps SPX Nation
November 4th, 2014

Marching band delivers a unique and entertaining halftime show
Written by: Gabe Goncalves ‘15 (Golden Lines Staff Writer)

As the clock hits zero to end the first half of football action at George B. Maloof stadium, the Marching Golden Lions quickly begin to set up for their halftime performance. Large instruments are wheeled into position, the band members take their spots at the center of the field and Drum Major Kate Stauduhar stands high on her platform, ready to guide the band.

The band has a different theme for their performances every year. This year’s theme is Celtic, which isn’t the type of music that is typically heard from a high school marching band.

“Well I was listening to ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and I really liked a version I heard that was played at the Winter Olympics,” said Band Director Mr. Chad Paetznick when explaining how he came up with the idea. “At the same time, our percussion instructor, color guard instructor and I also really liked the music from the animated movie ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’ It’s in a Celtic style with special rhythms. It has that special ‘flavor,’ if you will, that makes it stand out as very unique (like our band). I was also trying to plan to perhaps take the band on a performance trip to Ireland at some point.” 

This year’s show really does have a special “flavor” to it that features a talented group of performers and an equally amazing set of songs, such as “This is Berk” and “Forbidden Friendship” (from the DreamWorks film “How To Train Your Dragon”), “Tubardh” (which is a bagpipe and drum piece from a Scottish group called Clanadonia), some traditional Celtic anthems such as “Danny Boy,” “Royal Scots Anthem,” and “God Save The Queen,” as well as the Irish musical and dance sensation that swept the world 10 years ago, “Riverdance.”

One of the hardest working groups at St. Pius X, the marching band and color guard begin practicing over the summer and continue every day after school throughout the remainder of the football season.

While they are the most visible during halftime, the band also performs at their own competitions on Saturdays. Last year they competed in the 1A classification, but this year they moved up to 3A with much larger schools.

During the Marching Golden Lions’ first competition, they took home second place, coming in just behind Sprayberry High School by a very close 2.34 points.

“Since then we have made some minor musical tweaks and changes in the show and improved the musical quality,” said Mr. Paetznick when asked about their future performances. “When we compete again on October 18 we should have a much stronger performance.” 

Mr. Paetznick’s prediction was right, and at their next performance they placed first, winning the entire 3A competition with a whopping score of 92.0. The percussion and the color guard also brought home more trophies for St. Pius, both placing first.

With all of this new, Celtic flair added into this year’s band, you might be asking yourself, “What should I be looking and listening for?” First and foremost, the red Scottish uniform décor and Irish green and gold on the color guard uniforms stand out prominently and add an important visual piece to the show.

The sampled narration about the story of St. Patrick also provides the audience with a different, yet very interesting new twist on the traditional performance we’re used to seeing and hearing.

Anyone listening the band, be it at halftime of the football game or during one of their competitions, should keep both ears open for a fantastic pennywhistle solo by junior Michael Nguyen, a piccolo solo by junior Nicolette Buzonas, a baritone solo on “Danny Boy” by senior Maddie Grace, and a performance on the bagpipes from sophomore Nicholas Glenister and Nguyen.

The addition of the huge rotating cross, flags displayed of all seven Celtic nations and Irish Bodhran drums during “Riverdance” makes this performance incredibly bold and unforgettable. 

The Marching Golden Lions are truly taking a different course this year than they have in past years. Senior guitarist Wes Salton noted that “Last year’s performance was more focused on each individual song whereas this year the songs seem to flow together more. Also, last year’s performance was a lot more modern, but musically, it is just as challenging, if not more challenging to play.”

The marching band and color guard recently returned from their annual trip to Disney World where they marched in a parade and learned from professionals. Their last competition is Saturday, November 1, and they will continue to perform at halftime of the football games throughout the playoffs. The color guard will also do a small performance at the Fine Arts assembly in February.

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