Disney-bound Northwestern band celebrates the season
The excitement at the Lynnport Fire Hall was palatable when the Northwestern Lehigh High School band and the boosters gathered early in January to celebrate the end of a memorable season.
Band booster President Sean King said in his opening remarks the banquet was “a celebration of family and love of music.”
That was a sentiment echoed over and over again throughout the banquet.
“We sold over 2,000 chicken dinners, marched in two parades, and performed at 11 half-times,” King said, summarizing the season.
Band Director Jim Lykins also discussed the season.
“We had a record number of students participating this year,” Lykins said. “The freshmen who came were phenomenal.”
“We did add a parade this year at Emmaus.
“There must have been a half-million people along the parade route. They all had a really good time.”
Vice President Kelci Knirnschild, who will be graduating after a five-year career with the band, also spoke about the season.
“It was a great [season] but I’m sad it’s my last one,” Knirnschild said, agreeing the size of the band made a huge difference.
“It’s just a big family,” Knirnschild said. “I’m planning on helping the marching band over the summer.”
Band President Ross Mather recalled how the band changed over the years.
“We’ve grown tighter as a family, with less restrictions between us,” Mather said. “I think one of the ways we’ve done it is we’ve had a lot more events.
“We’ve had mini golf, bowling. They might seem unrelated in that we’re not talking about band, but we’re just being friends hanging out. It makes it easier to flow as a band.”
Growing pains pushed band members to work harder.
“My biggest challenge is getting a handle on the size of the group as it continues to grow in size,” drum major Jess Eberle said. “The new kids have been great. They’ve picked up the pace and are going to be amazing in upcoming years.”
The changes have not gone unnoticed.
“It was a really fun show to do and an unforgettable performance,” said Jennifer Lindtner, a twirler with the band. “People enjoyed it. I think the crowd got more involved than in previous years.”
“I [heard] some pretty good things from the people in the stands and from the Tiger Pack, the superintendent and the principal,” Eberle said. “That was absolutely amazing. The idea that someone that high in the school board is complimenting us is huge for me.”
Northwestern Lehigh Band Booster Vice President Dennis Dengler credits the community and parents for a large part of the band’s success.
“We went from 90 to 150 people for the banquet alone,” he said.
“Parents have taken care of the desserts and the decorations in classic Northwestern style. Our community is always so active. When they commit, they go all in.”
Though the memories of the season were still fresh, the band and the boosters were already anticipating in their next big adventure — a trip to Walt Disney World.
“We’ll be marching in the evening parade at the Magic Kingdom during the evening parade on March 8,” Lykins said. “But because we’re in the parade, we get to do the behind the scenes tour.”
Band members and their chaperones will be flying down to Disney for the trip scheduled for March 7-10.
“Brian Eberle, one of the booster parents, is driving a trailer packed with instruments and uniforms,” Lykins said. “Luckily, someone donated a trailer.”
“We’ve lived all around the country so driving down there is not a big deal,” Brian Eberle said, Jess Eberle’s dad.
“We’ve done this trip before as a family, but it’s going to be extra stressful with a trailer,” Jess Eberle said, “But my dad offered.”
Jess Eberle’s mother will accompany her husband on the ride.
Mather couldn’t be more excited.
“I’ve never been to Disney. It’s a new experience. It’s going to be a lot of fun performing on such a grand scale,” he said.
Mather has even more reason to be excited, because his entire family will share the Disney experience.
“The band held a raffle to send two people to Disney and we won,” he said. “It’s going to be nice.”
“We have 24 adults going and 48 kids,” Dengler said. “The total budget for the trip is about $120,000 and we’re currently at $118,000.”
The band continues to look for donations for the remaining $2,000.
“In my heart when people know about this, the money will come,” he stated.
Any donations are appreciated and could be sent to the school to the attention of Jim Lykins.