When the world seems to have fallen apart, sometimes music is just what the soul needs in order to turn things around. This power of music is harnessed by the Penn Marching Kingsmen, whose marching and musical precision has earned them the hearts of anyone who sees them perform.

This year proved the band was as strong as they rehearsed to perform their show, called From A Blank Canvas, for numerous competitions around the state of Indiana, an experience that the band missed out on last season. Unlike the real pandemic, the last year’s show, called Penndemic, had no chance to spread as all the bands’ competitions were cancelled. 

“Last year was really laid back, nobody really seemed to care as much about that year,” says Colin Carter, a saxophone player in the class of 2024. 

“It doesn’t have the same feeling, because when we go to competitions, we just have this whole family-like unity,” says Ray Catral, a flute player in the class of 2023. “…it just wasn’t the same.” 

Unfortunately, the band’s last competitive season came to an end on Saturday with the ISSMA Semi-State competition at Ben Davis High school. While they didn’t quite move onto the state finals, the opportunity to perform at all means the world to both veterans and rookies alike. 

“The one word that I can think of when I think about marching band is a ‘family’. I’ve been a part of a lot of clubs here at Penn, but nothing really has the same weight as marching band. I know I can rely on everyone in the group, and it’s just a safe environment, and it’s just…it’s a really wonderful thing we do here.” says Caitlin Price, a baritone section leader graduating in 2022. 

“Well, for me marching band is basically like a home away from home. You know, at home you sometimes have to deal with your siblings being loud and your siblings being loud, but at marching band, you know, all you need is chalk and the northern lot and you can make something absolutely beautiful that brings tears to people’s eyes, and it makes me feel great that I’m a part of doing that,” says Mirales.