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Band Members credit Marching Band

Updated: March 05, 2012, 10:31

PA: Many musicians owe their early roots to their high school marching bands. Now, they have a chance to give back with the West Scranton Marching Band Boosters’ second annual Band O’Palooza at The Vintage Theater in Scranton.
After holding a “very successful” first year, the March 9 all-ages event will feature five original local bands again for only $6 – Eye on Attraction, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (featuring Adam McIlwee of Tigers Jaw), Crock Pot Abduction, Halfling, and Langor.
“It’s tough to find fundraisers that are new and different, and this was something that we just came up with on our own…It was a win-win situation because the bands really enjoyed playing – they’re original bands, so they liked having the venue – and our boosters made a nice profit on it and everybody that was there had a great time,” Debra Belfanti, organizer and band parent, explained.
“It’s the night before St. Patrick’s Day, so we figured we would have something that the under-21 crowd, the high school crowd, could enjoy. We had quite a good showing last year.”
Involved with the organization for nine years, Belfanti said the money is used to subsidize a field trip at the end of the year; send drum majors to camp in the summer; and pay for a banquet, uniform accessories, and food and beverages for practices and performances, among other integral uses to the band.
“We feel like it’s a way for the students that are involved in music to use their music in a different way besides with the high school marching band. They have developed these bands on their own, and we just like giving them a place to promote their music and support the arts,” she said.
Belfanti said she feels music education is important to a child’s brain development.
“When you study music, it opens up your brain not just to music, but to math and science and it helps to promote those areas. I think that children that play instruments do better in those other subjects as a result. Also, I feel like it can provide a career for the future as well as a lifelong hobby.”
With two sons already graduated from the program and her youngest, Joseph, currently involved in the marching band, she knows this to be true firsthand. Joseph Belfanti is also a member of Crock Pot Abduction, and her son, Matthew, is a member of So Long, Pluto, another band playing original music in the area.
Andrew Merkle, a college student and drummer for participating act Eye on Attraction, can also attest to the importance of the marching band in a budding musician’s career.
“I was in the marching band from sixth grade until I graduated, so I was in it for about six years. I was president of the marching band. The marching band is what got me into drums, hands down. If I had never done that, I’d be a completely different person, so the marching band means everything to me,” Merkle enthused.
“I come from a really small marching band, and I know this isn’t the biggest marching band either, so any bit of money we can raise for them is awesome. They’re the first programs to get cut, and to me that’s the most important program at a school.”

 If you go

WHAT: Band O’Palooza featuring Eye on Attraction, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (featuring Adam of Tigers Jaw), Crock Pot Abduction, Halfling, and Langor.
WHERE: The Vintage Theater, 119 Penn Ave., Scranton.
WHEN: March 9, doors at 6 p.m., show at 6:30 p.m.
COST: $6.

By RICH HOWELLS golackawanna.com

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