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East High Panther Band wins at USBands National Championships

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Title 1 School Sweeps USBands National Championships

There was a moment of confusion yesterday at the USBands National Championships. Awards

for the competing bands – stretching from Virginia to Connecticut – were announced at J.

Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, in rank from last to first. Second place was announced as

“East. . .” and the students of Central Dauphin East High School, Harrisburg, PA started cheering.

Known by locals as “East High School,” they thought they had taken second place. The second place

banner, however, was presented to East Lyme High School from Connecticut. The

students of Central Dauphin East High were confused for a bit, until they realized they weren’t

in second place, they were first. “It was fun to watch that moment,” director of the band, Curtis

Glidewell, said. The national champions of Group 2A swept the competition with a score of

92.7, more than a one-point spread above all other groups in their division. “Its such an amazing

affirmation for our students,” Glidewell commented, “who have a lot to personally overcome to

be here.”

Central Dauphin East High School is a Title 1 School, with a large population of students living

below the poverty line. The entire school is designated for the free federal breakfast and lunch

program, due to the high number of students in need-disadvantaged that attend. The Marching

Band rehearses after school three times a week, and competes nearly every Saturday in the

season. To meet the food insecurity needs of the students, the booster organization, a 501c(3),

provides meals and financial assistance for uniforms for those students who cannot afford it.

The booster organiza'on is made up of parents of the students; however, so o*en they do not

have the resources to provide what a compe1ng band program needs. “People often confuse us

with our sister school, Central Dauphin High School, when in reality, we couldn’t be more

different in terms of our student popula1on and the challenges they face daily,” Glidewell

commented. The District Administration and School Board has taken steps to address these

needs, providing transportation to events and equipment trucks for competitions. Students also

face crises in the home, such as housing instability, lack of transportation and often, lack of

family support. Enter the music department, and specifically the Band program at East High—

where numerous students will tell you they sought refuge there after being bullied or found a

family there when one was not present for them at home. “It's really so much more than the

music we perform; it’s the community we create,” says Glidewell, “we lift each other up—

parents and students—it’s a powerful thing to be a part of.”  He’s directed the band program for

13 years.


If you would like to support the Band Program at East High, donate directly to the Central

Dauphin East High Music Boosters, and/or support their upcoming fundraiser--The Holiday

Magic Craft Fair—at the high school, Saturday, November 18 from 9a.m.-3p.m.


The Central Dauphin East High Marching Panthers are under the direction of Curtis Glidewell

and supported by eleven staff: Spencer Kpakiwa, Percussion Caption; Emma Kuykendall, Color

Guard Cap)on and Design; Elyssa Drexel, Mike Groom, Tyler Foxwell, & Daquan Holland, Ba#ery

Techs; Payton Legge+ & Richard Lomax, Front Ensemble Techs; Kayleigh Kuykendall, Color

Guard; Bryan Ma(hews and Silas Burr, Marching Techs.


The show features student performers Lilly Conrad, Color Guard; Kyah Williamson, clarinet; Abi

Bowman, Alto Sax; and Ashley Kabore, Color Guard. Student Drum Majors are Katelyn Harris

and Kyah Williamson. Addi$onal student leaders include Shannon Luth, Keeghan Fonner, Irene

Sedun, Ashely Valcin, Arow McQuay.