Local High School Band Series: The Franklin High School Black Knight Marching Band Nationally Recognized as the ‘Pride of Pennsylvania’

The “Local High School Band Series” is brought to you by Gatesman Auto Body of Lucinda, Pa.

Jacob Deemer

Jacob Deemer

Published March 21, 2024 12:50 am
Last Updated: March 21, 2024 11:17 am
Local High School Band Series: The Franklin High School Black Knight Marching Band Nationally Recognized as the ‘Pride of Pennsylvania’

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) — Known throughout the country as the “Pride of Pennsylvania,” the Franklin High School Black Knight Marching Band is widely respected as one of the most exciting bands in the country.

Local High School Band Series is sponsored by Gatesman Auto Body.

Director Steve Johnston told exploreVenango.com that his goal is to provide his students with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that they can be proud of and cherish for years to come.

“I am fortunate to teach great kids who are proud of the tradition and reputation of the Franklin High School Black Knight Marching Band,” Johnston said. “The band is filled with hard-working students who are extremely serious about producing the highest level of entertainment and performance possible.”

The marching band consistently entertains crowds with their highly energetic music and dancing, while always maintaining the highest standards of marching and musicianship.

The band is widely respected for consistently entertaining audiences with their highly energetic music and dancing, while always maintaining the highest standards of marching and musicianship.

The size of the Black Knight Marching Band varies from year to year. On average, the marching program typically averages 120 students, consisting of students in grades 9 through 12. Over the years, numbers have ranged from as few as 100 to as many as 150.

At Franklin High School, Marching Band is a regularly scheduled class that meets daily during the school day where students earn academic credit for their participation.

The Franklin High School Black Knight Marching Band has proudly represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the 1998 National Independence Day Parade; the 2000 and 2003 National Cherry Blossom Festival Parades in Washington, D.C.; the 2006 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Parade in Winchester, Virginia; and the 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2018, and 2022 National Memorial Day Parades in Washington, D.C.

In 2018, the band held the honorary position of being the lead unit and led the parade down Constitution Avenue before 500,000 spectators.

The Black Knight Band was chosen to welcome President George W. Bush to Erie on his Victory 2000 tour. The band performed before an estimated crowd of 10,000 people at Erie International Airport and a national television broadcast.

The Black Knight Marching Band made their debut at Heinz Field for the six-time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on September 25, 2005. The band’s highly acclaimed performance on the field at pre-game and half-time, as well as outside the stadium on Art Rooney Avenue, were viewed by the fourth largest crowd in Heinz Field history.

The band returned on December 29, 2013, as the Steelers closed out their regular season schedule against the AFC North Division rival Cleveland Browns. Performing for a third time, the band was invited back to Heinz Field for the AFC Wild-Card Playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 3, 2015.

From 1997 through 2000, the Black Knight Band performed pre-game shows on the field at Three Rivers Stadium for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The band was the last marching band to perform for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the close of their tenure in Three Rivers Stadium.

In 2009, the Black Knight Marching Band began an ongoing relationship with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. The band has returned annually to entertain the best fans in hockey.

The Black Knight Marching Band provides audiences with the opportunity to enjoy a mix of high-energy popular music. Selections vary from week to week and provide spectators with a different show every time that they perform.

The band regularly performs the school’s two fight songs, Onward Franklin and Across the Field, as well as John Philip Sousa’s Stars And Stripes Forever.

Annual events include local appearances throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania that are highlighted by Franklin’s Applefest, where the band is encircled by thousands of spectators on Liberty Street in downtown Franklin, as well as Franklin’s Light-Up Night and Memorial Day Parades and annual performances for the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

Sponsored by Gatesman Auto Body located at 28177 Route 66, Lucinda, PA 16235 — family-owned, ASE-certified, and I-CAR Gold-trained shop with old-fashioned values: honesty and integrity.

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