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Copyright 2019 - Bishop Guilfoyle

A new day has dawned for the Marching Marauders. Under Music Director Brett Keith, the program is making a resurgence, which means brighter, better times for both BG students and the community.

For nearly two decades, Bishop Guilfoyle suffered from an issue plaguing school districts nationwide: the loss of its marching band program. Gone was the once-thriving music program that could garner 100 members in a single year, taking with it one of the most valuable activities that BG students could take part in.

The band currently has 21 members—double the size from last year—and Keith hopes for at least 30 in the next year. For each new student that joins, Keith knows firsthand just how much they can gain from the experience.

“The experience is invaluable,” says Keith. “It teaches artistry, musicianship, teamwork, responsibility, and professionalism. It also allows our students to be leaders in the school community, providing exemplary discipline in front of large crowds in any situation.”

He also points out that music is simply unlike any other discipline that a student can be involved in. Unlike sports or clubs, the performing arts give young people the ability to make a deep emotional impact on others—something that bolsters self-confidence and ambition in a totally unique way.

“Students realize that their practice and performance is not just to provide entertainment, but that they have an emotional and artistic impact to everything they accomplish,” Keith says.

Mel McConnell (’69), a Marching Marauder veteran and current BG Elementary Band Instructor, insists that band is one of the most inclusive activities there is.

“Not everyone is an athlete. Not everyone can be a leader,” he says. “However, when a band is ready, every single member performs. No one stands on the sidelines.”

Mike Lastort (’80), another former member, is still grateful for that to this day.

“I was a pretty shy kid, and being in the band really helped me become more of an extrovert,” says Lastort.

McConnell and Lastort aren’t just testaments to how influential music can be in one’s younger years, but also for a lifetime. McConnell went on to teach music for more than 40 years, while Lastort still plays in a local rock band and takes saxophone lessons in his free time.

Together, Keith, McConnell and the hard-working students are determined to bring the Marching Marauders band back to the flourishing entity that it once was, and it’s clear that they’re well on their way.

“Bishop Guilfoyle can almost consider itself as a new band,” says Keith. “We ask for all of you to come along for the ride, and maybe be impacted as well.”