Marching Panthers celebrate 50 years, look to future

Alumni recognized at Friday’s football game

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER
Alumni members of the Marching Panthers were invited back to O'Fallon this past weekend for a variety of activities, including special recognition during the band's performance at the football game Friday night. While the game was eventually called due to weather, the performance still took place. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

Alumni members of the Marching Panthers were invited back to O’Fallon this past weekend for a variety of activities, including special recognition during the band’s performance at the football game Friday night. While the game was eventually called due to weather, the performance still took place. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Sam Scinta)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers are in the midst of a year long celebration of the band’s 50th Anniversary of their affiliation with the school.

The band’s most recent moment came on Friday night during the pre-game performance at the soon-to-be cancelled football game when they invited band members from the feeder programs as well as alumni from past groups to perform alongside the 2016 band.

“It’s exciting. O’Fallon is obviously a special program and a special place for band. People have made bonds here, and it will be neat for our kids to meet members from the past,” Dr. Melissa Gustafson-Hinds, Director of the Marching Panthers, told the Weekly.

The enlarged group performed the National Anthem and the School Song on the field of the Panther Athletic Complex, and just snuck the selections in before impending weather postponed the football game against Belleville West until Saturday.

“It’s going to be cool to see what kind of relationships are formed from this experience,” said Gustafson-Hinds, who is affectionately nicknamed Dr. G by her students. “It’ll be great for the alumni to see how things are going on here now. There’s a lot of pride in this town for this program, especially for the alumni.”

“Everybody loves music the same, and that’s why it’s kind of the universal language. It connects people. I’m hoping this will be a kickstarter kind of event that we can keep doing year in and year out to keep music in their lives and connect them back to where they came from.”

Dr. G was very pleased with how the performance went Friday evening, and said it sets a great tone for the rest of the season.

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