From staff reports
LEWISTOWN -Two local marching band directors-Phil Wysocki and Mark Baylor - will be among those particpating in the Sept. 21 All County Band Reunion, which is bringing together former band members from all over the county to play again and leave a legacy for the musicians of the future.
Registration is due on Friday for the reunion, scheduled for Sept. 21, during the Mifflin County Huskies Homecoming Game.
Lewistown High School musicians are photographed one hot September afternoon on Mitchell Field as the band rehearsed for the half-time show in fall 1953. Students are Freda Stade, Jim Beckwith and Lantz Hoffman.
Student director Ray Goss is photographed after a pep rally at Lewistown High School in 1951.
Photos submitted by
Palmer ‘Prof’ Mitchell eats lunch with his son, Eugene Mitchell, in the Lewistown High School band room during the 1947-48 school year. Mitchell died in October 1948 and the entire LHS band went to his funeral in Beaver Springs. Mitchell Field is named after him.
Anyone who has ever played in a marching or concert band in Mifflin County is invited to attend. Band front members are also encouraged to sign up. Band members from other school districts are welcome as long as they are currently living in Mifflin County.
A $20 fee entitles reunion members to a limited edition T-shirt designed by Jessica Goss. All additional proceeds will be donated to the Mifflin County High School Band for items not covered by this year's school budget.
Music is now available to download from the Mifflin County School District website (click on Alumni Events) as is the registration form.
Baylor teaches music in the Mifflin County Middle School. He is the former band director at Kish and Lewistown Area high schools, and also taught at several elementary schools throughout the district.
He started playing piano at the age of 5. He also learned how to play the trumpet, string bass and trombone for a variety of school bands and orchestras. He has played keyboards, saxophone and flute in many local rock and roll and country bands in the area.
In addition to being a musician, Baylor has an interest in local history and relates some information about the legacy of bands in the county.
Palmer Mitchell was the first band director in Mifflin County, Baylor said. He appeared in a Lewistown High School year book in 1922 as orchestra director. The next year he was listed as orchestra and band director. He was known as "Prof Mitchell." Mitchell field is named after him. As far as anyone knows, it's the only football field in the country named after a band director, Baylor said.
Elliot Treese was the first band director in the Reedsville area, having started the first band at Reedsville High School, Baylor said.
Practice was held in the basement of the Reedsville Bank building (the small, very old red brick building). He retired to start and run Treese's Music Store in Holidaysburg.
At one time Reedsville, Milroy and Belleville all had their own marching bands, Baylor said.
Reedsville and Milroy merged to form Armagh Brown High School. Shortly after that merger an addition was added to the building and Belleville High School was brought in to form Kishacoquillas.
There wasn't time for new uniforms, so the students marched in at least one parade wearing the three different uniforms, Baylor said.
"I was told that the band was huge and everyone was very proud of their band and their new school," he said.
Yeagertown High School (formerly Derry Elementary) used to have a very large band under the direction of Hans Ubersieder. Yeagertown merged with Burnham High School to form Chief Logan. Ubersieder left the area and the band director at the brand new Chief Logan High School was Bill Check.
For more information, contact Jenny Barron Landis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-8078.
The event also has a Facebook page - Mifflin County Marching Band Alumni Reunion. Alumni are encouraged to post scanned photos from their days in high school band.
Wysocki is the former band director at Chief Logan, Strodes Mills elementary and middle schools. He also taught at other elementary schools in the district. Though retired, he still plays clarinet, alto and tenor sax in three different bands.
Wysocki said, "Learning to play an instrument teaches self discipline. Regular daily practice is a must. It teaches problem solving. Mastering a large piece happens when a student works out the smaller problems one at a time. Most of all, music is a lifetime activity which can continue to educate and entertain well into one's older years."