Schuylkill County Band Musicians Come Together


Courtesy of Alex Maley

Mr. Richard Fries rehearsed “Lawrence of Arabia” on Friday, the day before the concert. “It was a really fun experience to be able to play exciting and challenging music with Mr. Fries because he is a great conductor who knows how to get a band going. The county band students were extremely lucky to have him,” said senior Angelina Madonna.

Great sounds of music were heard from the Watcher Auditorium at PAHS. The Schuylkill County Band Festival has concluded. The Festival consists of all the schools in Schuylkill County coming together, and over the course of three days, students practice pieces of music to perform to the public. Each year it is hosted by a different school. This year, PAHS was lucky enough to host the 2023 festival with guest conductor and former PAHS band director, Mr. Richard Fries. The last time he guest conducted for Pottsville was in 2008. Every year, a special scholarship is awarded to a student who will further their career in music to college. This year’s recipient was Emily Lucas, one of our seniors at PAHS.

“Doing county band as a freshman was a really fun experience,” said freshman Tyler Sibbet. “I made the first chair for percussion and made tons of new friends. I am usually shy when it comes to people who aren’t my friends, it was a nice way to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people I didn’t know.” said Sibbett.

The County Band Festival is through auditions only. To audition, you have to be in your school’s band. Once you’ve auditioned and you’re in, you must re-audition for your chair number.

“I’ve participated in the Schuylkill County Band since my freshman year and every year it gets better,” said senior Xavier Phillip Johnson. “Now that I’m a senior, I’m sad that I won’t get to have another year of it but extremely grateful to the experience and all the new friends I’ve gotten along the way. It’s cool how music can bring such a diverse group of people together,” said Phillip Johnson.

County Band can be a special place for people who are musicians to come together and make friends with mutual interests. Being a participant can help you learn patience because you’re going over the same piece of music, over and over again. It’s a place to both enjoy music and make new friends who enjoy music as well.

“I’ve been in county band for all four years of high school and I’ve loved every year. It’s always fun learning very difficult pieces and having to learn it in a couple of days. It makes it all the more exciting,” said senior Emily Lucas.

As a Schuylkill County Band musician, you can audition for district band. Two of PAHS’s seniors, Emily Lucas and Nick Horvath are in district band.