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The Student News Source of West Branch Area High School

Warrior Watch

The Student News Source of West Branch Area High School

Warrior Watch

The Student News Source of West Branch Area High School

Warrior Watch

West Branch Graduate Makes the PSU Blue Band

Noah Fry from the Class of 2022 gets accepted into the Blue Band.
Image/Graphics by Mike Raneri
Noah marching alongside his fellow bandmates in the Blue Band pregame show.

On Saturday, West Branch graduate Noah Fry made his debut in the Penn State University Blue Band. Noah learned that he was accepted into the Blue Band on August 17th and has eagerly counted down the days until he would play his trumpet at Beaver Stadium.

Although the Penn State football team started their season on September 1st, the Blue Band did not travel to the away game and instead held a watch party. On September 10th, the Penn State vs. Ohio game, the Blue Band was to practice at 7 a.m and then parade up to the stadium for their pregame performance. After his long-awaited first game with the Blue Band, Noah says, “I will never be able to accurately describe the experience; so many thoughts were rushing through my head at once with 107,000 people screaming and cheering at the band simultaneously.”

Noah has played the trumpet for eight years. He was a vital member of the West Branch Music Department for all four years of high school, performing at several PMEA band festivals. In 2017, Noah attended the “Blue Bandorama” performance, which helped inspire him to pursue auditions for the band. After watching them march at the Ball State football game and getting accepted into PSU last fall, Noah had his heart set on auditioning.

In April, Noah attended Forward March: a program designed to allow high school instrumentalists to play with the Blue Band at the PSU Blue and White game. Shortly after, Noah submitted an Intent to Audition form through the Blue Band website. The auditions were in two parts: the playing audition and the marching audition. The playing audition required Noah to record any 3-5 minute solo that displayed his talents on the trumpet and the short composition given to him two days before the deadline on May 6th. Over the two weeks leading up to his submission deadline, Noah practiced around the clock. On May 19th, he was invited to the Blue Band Camp and instructed to arrive at the university on August 15th.

The marching portion lasted for two days, where Noah had to learn the fundamentals of Blue Band marching that he had practiced from instructional videos. It was a total of ten and a half hours of practicing the Lion Pregame Entrance, with the majority occurring on his second day of band camp. They were supposed to receive results by the end of the second day, but lightning delays moved auditions to the next morning. Before lunchtime on the third day, Noah heard his name called amongst those who had made it into the band and would be finishing camp. He delivered the news to his family and friends, and the word quickly spread. Mr. Jones, West Branch Marching Band Advisor, exclaims: “We’re super proud of Noah, it’s quite an accomplishment. I don’t think we’ve had a West Branch graduate in at least 20 years–that I know of– that made the Blue Band.” Mr. Jones also suggested that Drum Major Kayleigh Smeal surprise Noah with a FaceTime call from the entire WBHS band to congratulate his acceptance.

Noah credits the West Branch Band Program for guiding him to become the advanced musician he is. He gives special thanks to former band teachers Mrs. Sproull, Mr. Dobo, Mr. Houtz, “and especially Mr. Jones and Mr. Stiltson,” for encouraging him and providing opportunities that brought him to a higher level of performance. Noah tells the WBHS band: “Please don’t take high school band for granted! This is the perfect time to not only improve as a musician but also make memories that will last a lifetime!“

Noah’s next performance will be on September 17th, for the Penn State @ Auburn game. He can be spotted at the top of the “S” in the “PSU” Alma Mater formation. The entire Blue Band plays at every home game and travels to one away event each season, this year being to Auburn. They will also perform at the Bryce Jordan Center for the Bandorama event on October 8th, the Blue and White scrimmage, and a Bowl game. For more information on the Blue Band, go to their website at or reach out to Noah personally at

Congratulations to West Branch alumnus Noah Fry for his exceptional accomplishment, and Warrior Watch wishes him the best of luck!

Noah (left) rehearsing the marching fundamentals at Blue Band Camp.
Noah (left) rehearsing the marching fundamentals at Blue Band Camp 2022. (Image/Graphics by Mike Raneri)
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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn McGonigal
Kaitlyn McGonigal, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, my name is Kaitlyn McGonigal. I am currently a senior at West Branch Area High School. I am involved in Student Government, The National Honor Society, and Warrior Watch. I hope you enjoy reading my articles!