Marching Unit Dazzles at Music in the Valley

There are so many sights and sounds that make fall in our area the best time of the year.

The leaves turning colors into a magnificent red, gold, and brown rainbow.

The unmistakable roar emanating on a Friday night from Keenan Stadium as the Vikings battle on the gridiron almost shaking the foundation.

There is another sound that echoes throughout the hills and fields of the Perkiomen Valley that indicates fall is in full force, the haunting cadence of the Vikings Marching Unit drum line that can be heard any night miles from the high school.

Of course, the marching unit field show, which they rehearse starting in August, fills the void at halftime during the Pioneer Athletic Conference home games, but that is not where it ends.

As November approached, the marching unit sets their sights on a championship of their own, namely the U.S. Bands National Championships Open Class held in Met Life Stadium (home of Super Bowl XVIII) on Monday, November 1.

The “Music in the Valley” showcase which was held on Saturday, October 9th in Keenan Stadium is a dry run for the Vikings championship quest, as Perk Valley performs in exhibition status while bands from Central Bucks East, Rustin, Quakertown, North Penn, and Delaware Valley regional threw down their best beats and choreography to impress the adjudicators from U.S. Bands.

For the PV senior members of the marching unit which numbers 40 or so performers including musicians, flags, and rifles, this year had extraordinarily special meaning to all involved following the 2020 competition being scrubbed due to COVID-19.

“It was so important to me to have this chance to perform tonight,” said Perkiomen Valley senior Jake Miley. “We are like a family pretty much and last year was very hard on us.” “I am very excited about tonight and the weeks coming up,” said Miley, who was featured in a trombone solo. “We have next week at North Penn’s showcase, then homecoming, and then [we] have the Nationals Regionals.” 

Marching unit director David Overholtzer outdid himself this year with a field show highlighting the fact that the words people say are important and they can create glory or cause great hurt and distress.

Not to give away the secret sauce, but the band, on-field percussion section, and the color guard are all donning costumes that are covered with words, lots of words that have an impact in today’s social media world.

The show starts with a clip of John F Kennedy’s famous “Ask not what your country can do for you” speech and takes the listener on a journey with memorizing sound and precision choreography emerging from the initial courtroom set-up scene in which a judge and jury are present.

“We have been waiting two years to do this show,” said Viking class of 2022 member Sydney Chace. “With COVID and everything, I am just so happy to be out here on the field.”

Friday night’s “Pink Out” game will be the final tune-up for the hard-working, dedicated group known as the Perkiomen Valley Marching Unit.

“This is something we have been looking forward to,” added Chace. “We have had in the forefront of our minds, but to actually be back out here on the field has been amazing, I love this group like my family.”

As the Valley is consumed by youngsters in costume looking to fill their Halloween bags with candy Sunday night, the hard-working volunteers that comprise the parent army that supports the marching unit will be loading up the Perkiomen valley Music truck and getting ready to head up the Turnpike in search of only treats as the Vikings take the field in East Rutherford, NJ.

The US Bands nationals regional presented a grueling schedule of events that feature bands, drum lines, and marching units from all over the country performing from 9:00 am until long after the lights came on at about 11 pm.

“I am so excited about the nationals,” said Jake Miley. “It will be will be magical as it will be my final performance at Met Life Stadium.”