The Bethel Park High School Black Hawk Marching Band celebrated a half century of music excellence at its 50th Annual Festival of Marching Bands, which was held at Bethel Park Stadium on a warm summer-like evening in early October.
Performing at this year’s festival were marching bands from Gateway, North Hills, Charleroi, Avonworth and Mt. Lebanon High Schools, as well as a performance from the Bethel Park High School Drum Line and the National Anthem sung by the Top 21 Choir.
The Bethel Park Black Hawk Marching Band features 162 musicians, seven Majorettes and 36 Bethettes and is under the direction of Chad Thompson with assistance from Michael Petrossi, Jeff Knell, Zach Cable and Robin Palyas. The Band’s Student Director is Kathryn Kimes. Meg Geronimos is the Head Majorette; and Tiffany Kells and Katie Zoldos are the Head Bethettes.
To commemorate 50 years of Bethel Park Marching Band Festivals, the Band invited all BP alumni to come back and join them for the Alumni Band, which performed as part of the pre-festival show. This year’s Alumni Band featured 163 graduates--including 97 musicians, 51 Bethettes and 15 majorettes, including alumni who graduated in the 1960s.
Leading the Alumni Band was retired BPHS Band Director David Buetzow.
The Bethel Park Marching Band is truly a family affair, as many members of the Alumni Band marched alongside their children who were previously in the band or are current members of the band. Having so many family members participate in the Alumni Band only reinforced the current Band’s well-deserved nickname, “The Pride of Bethel Park.”
This year also marked a special milestone in Bethel Park Marching Band history, as the Bethettes celebrated their 60th year of existence. Three of the original Bethettes were on-hand for the festivities—founding member Donna Cartwright Soulakis, who flew in from Plano, TX; and Beverly Kimpel Roussel and Pat House Blockinger, who still live in Bethel Park.
Additionally, the Band was able to honor the memory of former Band Director Dean Streator, who passed away earlier in 2017. Mr. Streator is credited with creating the long-standing marching band traditions at Bethel Park which are still utilized to this day. The Band presented Mr. Streator’s daughter with a framed shadowbox containing the orange, wool “BP” blazer that Mr. Streator wore during his years with the District.
The 2017 edition of the Marching Band Festival not only brought back many good memories, but it also provided an enjoyable evening of marching band music.
Here’s to another 50 years of the Bethel Park Marching Band Festival! Play on! To see a video from this year's Festival, please click here