PHS rock ‘n’ roll legends


Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.


Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.


Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.


By Joseph Pratt

rpratt@civitasmedia.com

Students at Portsmouth Junior High and High School are outdoors marching in the sun, practicing in the band room, and learning the many technical aspects of marching band this week, as they prepare for the fall season during their annual summer band camp.

The band continues in the same direction under Director Matt Swintek, who has been with the band for four years.

Swintek said that the upcoming school year began with challenges involving band enrollment, which was caused by students who were expected to return but did not. The problem has disappeared for the group, however, with new enrollments of younger students.

“We’ve been able to fill in those places nicely with young students who are very dedicated to excellence,” Swintek said.

The band has been rehearsing and learning a routine for a show that was chosen by a group of students who made a trip to Cleveland with the band last year. A trip in which caused the young musicians to become invested in the classic rock ‘n’ roll style of music after exploring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“The show is a tribute to Cleveland and the classic disc jockey Alan Freed, who coined the term rock ‘n’ roll,” Swintek said. “We made a trip last year to Cedar Point and the students were able to explore the Cleveland area and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was something that really impacted them and they wanted to perform a tribute to these legends.”

The band’s set list for the 2015-2016 year includes “Heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Huey Lewis, “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis, “I don’t want to miss a thing” by Dianne Warren, as performed by Aerosmith, “Renegade” by Tommy Shaw, as performed by Styx, and “Cleveland Rocks” by Ian Hunter, as performed by The Presidents of the United States.

“The kids love the show so far,” Swintek said. “We have played through it already and the kids love that it is fun and upbeat. It grabs their attention because they know the music; they’ve heard it on the radio and they’ve sung the lyrics for years.”

Swintek said that the band is currently planning on competing at five different competitions. The band’s plans include West Portsmouth, Lancaster, Athens, Coal Grove, and Ironton.

“What is really positive about this specific show is that it will be very audience friendly during football games and competitions,” Swintek said. “We will probably interchange the performances each home game, too. I don’t see us performing the entire show until, maybe, the very last game of the season.”

Swintek is being assisted by many alumni members of the band and the current drum major Monica Campbell.

Campbell has been with the band for seven years and looks forward to another.

“I feel really honored to be in such a big role,” Campbell said. “It has been challenging to have all of these new responsibilities, but I am glad I have them, because I feel like it is teaching me how to juggle work better.”

Campbell went on to say that she is also glad to have the opportunity to get the younger students more invested in band, because music has had a major impact on her.

“Band is kind of an escape. Some people read or exercise, but I just listen to or play music. It gets me away from everything,” Campbell said. “Music can be a very important part of a person.”

The Portsmouth Junior High and High School Marching Band will perform at home for the first time this season on Aug. 27, when the football team goes against Valley High School.

“I feel good about the season,” Swintek said. “I started off a little weary, since we are a little young this year, but I feel really good after working with the kids, because they are dedicated.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.

Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/07/web1_bnd.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.

Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/07/web1_ports.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.

Joseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.
http://portsmouth-dailytimes.aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2015/07/web1_band.jpgJoseph Pratt | Portsmouth Daily Times
The 2015-2016 PJHS and PHS marching bands preparing for an upcoming season of competitions.

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