New AH band director aims to expand, improve program

First Posted: 1/31/2014

Eric Boylan, 27, of Peckville, first joined a marching band as a junior high student in Pittston Area School District, and although his previous dream was to play football, he said he never regretted the decision.

“The second I touched a drum,” he said, “I fell in love. I knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Now band director at Abington Heights High School, Boylan said a teaching career wasn’t in his original plans either, but turned out to be another perfect fit for him.

The focus of his job each school year is twofold, the first half in marching band and the second in concert band. Both, while similar, he said, bring unique challenges and rewards for he and his 74 students. While marching band involves putting on a conceptual show, with the members moving around the field as part of the performance, concert band incorporates musical pieces of a more challenging nature in a stationary environment.

Whether it’s in marching or concert band, however, Boylan said the best part of his job is interacting with the students and seeing them interact with each other and with the music.

“There’s an emotional aspect to everything we play,” he said. “It can be happy, it can be sad. …It’s about communicating as a mass group without speaking a single word.”

Boylan said his goal as band director, a position which he began full-time at the end of July, 2013, is to develop the department into a “very well known program,” with a better conceptually designed show and overall story line.

He said while the students were at first reluctant to the idea, not fully understanding what they were getting into, once things began to “click” as a group, they began to grow in their abilities and performance.

“They are extremely motivated,” he said.

He hopes to continue expanding the program in the future, providing the students with additional opportunities to compete against other area bands.

The main benefit for students who participate in the program, he said, is the social aspect.

“When you join band,” he said, “you really are joining a big family. They’re the best of friends, they support each other, everyone is accepted.”

He added there’s also the emotional aspect of being able to vent one’s feelings through music, and whether angry, sad or joyful, by playing an instrument, one can “let out all of your emotions in a very good way.”

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