Mr. Craig N. Shoener
Director of High School Bands
Craig N. Shoener, Director of Bands, is a 1981 graduate of P.A.H.S., where he participated in Marching Band for five years, Concert, and Stage Bands for four years, serving as Treasurer his Junior year, and President his Senior year. He also was a member of the choirs for three years, serving as Vice President his Senior Year. Mr. Shoener went on to further his education at Mansfield State College/University, studying Music Education, and Trumpet with Dr. H. Michael Galloway. While at Mansfield, he played in the Marching, Jazz and Concert Bands, as well as touring in the Mansfieldians Choir. After graduation, Craig served as Director of Bands at Nativity B.V.M. High School (1985-1987), Bands and Choirs at North Schuylkill High School, Bands at North Schuylkill Elementary School (1987-2012) , before coming to Pottsville in 2012. Craig remains active playing with the Cressona Band, Pottsville Third Brigade Band, and the M&J Big Band. He is a member of P.M.E.A., N.A.F.M.E.,Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Kappa Kappa Psi. He has performed with such professional musicians as: Dave Stahl, Andy Gravish, and Phil Woods. Outside of Music, Mr. Shoener serves as President of the Good Will Fire Company No. 4 in Pottsville.
Mrs. Katelyn Reichard
Assistant Director of High School Marching Band
Mrs. Reichard is a 2008 graduate of Northern Lebanon Sr. High School. She is also a 2012 graduate of Kutztown University, with a degree in Music Education. She student taught in the Governor Mifflin School District, and was Director of Elementary Bands at the Tri Valley School District from 2012-2014. Since 2009, she has been employed part-time by Loser’s Music of Lebanon, PA. In July 2014, Katelyn was hired as a music teacher in the D.H.H. Lengel Middle School of the Pottsville Area School District. Katelyn was appointed Assistant Director in Summer, 2015, and in Spring 2016 was appointed Middle School Band Director
Mr. Michael Ryan
Pre-Game Drill Design & Marching Instructor
Mr. Ryan is a 1976 graduate of Pottsville Area High School where he played tuba in both the marching and concert bands. He was a member of the PMEA District and Regional Bands.He is a 1980 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. While at Penn State, he was member of the Marching Blue Band, Symphonic Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Brass Choir, and Symphony Orchestra. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha (professional music fraternity), Parmi Nous (senior honor society), and student director of the Basketball Pep Band. He attended graduate school at West Chester University and took post-graduate courses at Villanova University. He was employed as the high school band director at Minersville School District, Minersville, PA (1980-1989), Bermudian Springs School District, York, PA (1989 – 1999). While at Bermudian Springs his marching band won many awards in Tournament of Bands competition and his concert band was selected to play at the 1998 Pennsylvania Music Educator's Association (PMEA) State Convention in Erie, PA. He was the Marching and Brass instructor for the Northern High School Marching Band, Dillsburg, PA (1999-2010), and Director of the D.H.H. Lengel Middle School band director (1999-2016). He is married to Amy (Ballat) Ryan and has three children: Michael, Rachel, and Patrick.
Mr. Robert A. Nowak
Robert A. Nowak is a member of the music faculty at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. In addition to teaching Introduction to Music classes, teaching percussion, percussion techniques, directing the mallet and percussion ensembles at LVC, Nowak also serves as the percussion consultant for Pottsville Area High School. He is Principal-Percussionist of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and Principal-Percussionist of the Reading Symphony Orchestra. As a busy free-lance percussionist, he performs at the F. M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre; the Scranton Cultural Center, Scranton; the Santander Center for the Performing Arts, Reading; the State Theater, Easton; and the Hershey Theater, Hershey Arena, Giant Center, and Hersheypark, Hershey. He is a graduate of Mansfield State College, Mansfield, PA and the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida. Nowak has performed with: Al Martino, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Bob Hope, Rosemary Clooney, Debbie Boone, Natalie Cole, Ann Jillian, Tommy Tune, Regis Philbin. Olivia Newton John, Petula Clark, Clay Aiken, and the National Tours of ‘Grand Hotel’, “Chorus Line’, ‘Bye, Bye, Birdie’, ‘Dream Girls’, ‘Big’, ‘Peter Pan’,‘Ragtime’, ‘The Full Monty’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Light in the Piazza’, ‘Manheim Steamroller’, etc. Despite his very busy schedule, Nowak manages to give private lessons in his self-designed studio in Shenandoah, PA and manufactures mahogany log drums, triangle holders and goose neck cymbal holders used by major symphony orchestra and music schools around the world. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and the Educational Team of Vic Firth, Inc. Nowak uses Ludwig Drums and Timpani and Musser Mallet Percussion Instruments. He is honored to be an educational endorser for Sabian Cymbals. "Bob", as he is called, has been the Percussion Instructor since 1979.
Mr. Stephen Horvath
Band Assistant, Percussion Ensemble Director
Mr. Horvath has worked with the percussion and marching band programs at Pottsville Area High School in various capacities since 2002. He helped to form the PAHS Percussion Ensemble and became it's first director in 2010. He is currently a member and President for the Pottsville Third Brigade Band and their principal percussionist. Steve currently plays double-bass for the Anthracite Philharmonic. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity. Steve received his B.S. in telecommunications with a minor in music from Kutztown University in 1999. He received his M.S. in telecommunications from KU in 2000 and his M.Ed in Education with a specialization in special education from Alvernia College in 2007. Steve has been a special education teacher, specializing in mathematics at PAHS since the fall of 2006. Steve currently resides in Pottsville with his wife Casey and their two children.
Mrs. Deniece Krater
Band Front Advisor, Majorette Instructor
Deniece Krater is a 1978 Graduate of Pottsville Area High School. She started twirling in 1962 under the direction of Dolly Marrazzo & Madeline Fallon. In 2000, She became the Majorette Advisor for the PAHS Band under the direction of Mr. Richard Fries. In 2012-2013, she became the Band Front Advisor for the PAHS Band (Flags, Color Guard & Majorettes) under the direction of Mr. Craig Shoener. During this time over 100 girls have graduated from PAHS in the art of twirling the baton. Since 2013, she has began training over 40 girls, grades 1st thru 8th to continue teaching the art of baton twirling. She also sings in a quartet called “Sounds of Heaven”, based out of Port Carbon, PA.
Mr. John P. Shoener
Band Assistant, Alumni Band Coordinator
John is a 2013 graduate of Pottsville Area High School, where he was a member of the Stage, Marching, Concert, and Pep Bands for all his years, studying under Mr. Richard D. Fries, and Mr. Craig N. Shoener. He served as Vice President of both the Band and Choir his Senior year. John holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from The Pennsylvania State University. While at school, he studied trumpet under Dr. Langston J. Fitzgerald III. He has also studied jazz with Mr. Lawrence Koch of the Braun School of Music. At Penn State, John was Trumpet Section Leader of the Penn State Blue Band. John is also a Brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. John joined the band staff in the 2013-14 season, and specializes in the coordination of the band’s social media outlets, as well as the coordination of Alumni Band. John has performed with various professional musicians and ensembles, and is active in the Cressona Band. He is the leader of the M&J Big Band, and M&J Jazz Combo of Pottsville, as well as a trumpet player and founding member with the Coal Forged Brass Quintet of Mount Carmel, PA. In June 2017, John was appointed as the Band Director at Shenandoah Valley School District in Shenandoah, PA.
Mr. Jacob M. Shoener
Jacob, volunteer band staff assistant, is a proud alumnus of The Pottsville Area High School (Class of 2015) and had participated in Marching, Concert, Stage, and Pep Bands, in addition to singing in the Concert Choir and Chorale during his years at PAHS. He served as President of the Band and Concert Choir during his senior year of high school, and also served as Student Coordinator of the Pep Band. Jacob is currently a sophomore Music Education student at The Pennsylvania State University, where he studies trumpet privately with Dr. Langston J. Fitzgerald, III. He has participated in many ensembles at Penn State including the Marching Blue Band, Symphonic Band, Inner Dimensions Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and Brass Quintet. When home, he manages and performs with the M&J Big Band and M&J Jazz Combo (on both trumpet and vocals), in addition to playing in the Cressona Band. He has studied privately with his father, Craig N. Shoener (trumpet), Lawrence O. Koch (jazz studies), and Cathy Zimmerman (piano). Jacob is a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Alpha Zeta Chapter, Class of 2015), and also holds professional memberships in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the National Band Association (NBA). Jacob is thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the music program that offered him so much as a student, and he looks forward to helping the PAHS Band continue its’ Tradition, Integrity, Dedication, and Excellence for years to come.
Mr. Michael Kiehner
Michael is a 1967 graduate of P.A.H.S., where he played clarinet in the bands under Mr. Arthur Delpaz. He then went on to study organ at West Chester State College with Harry Wilkinson, graduating in 1971. While at West Chester, Mike served as President of the Rho Sigma Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Mr. Kiehner then began a career of teaching Music in the Pottsville Area School District, before retiring in 2005 after 34 years of teaching. Kiehner served as organist and choir director at the First Baptist Church, Pottsville, from 1971-1995, and at the Evangelical U.M. Church, Pottsville, 1975-1977, before coming to Trinity Lutheran Church, Pottsville, in 1995. Michael was the leader of the former P.A.H.S. Band Highland Lassies/Kilts Bagpipe Band. He has been the voice of Tide Football, and is also active in the Pottsville Area Music Endowment. Mr. Kiehner joined as voice of the band in Fall 2012.
Past Band Staff
Mr. Richard D. Fries
Director of Middle School Bands (1974-1977)
Director of High School Bands (1977-2012)
Director of High School Bands Emeritus
Richard Fries was born in Altoona, PA. He began studying French Horn in the fourth grade and graduated from Altoona Area High School in 1970, where he was mentored by Mr. Darwin H. Bistline. He is a 1974 graduate of Penn State University, where he was president of the Blue Band and horn soloist under Dr. James Dunlop. He began teaching in the Pottsville Area School District in the fall of 1974, serving three years as the band director at DHH Lengel Middle School, before moving to the High School in 1977. He received a Masters degree in Music Education from Penn State in 1980. He served as the PAHS marching, concert, and stage band director for 35 years. During that time, he organized the Schuylkill County Big Band, which brings together high school students with professional musicians for an annual performance. Rick has taught private horn lessons to numerous students, as well as played in many performing groups. He was a founding member of the Schuylkill Symphony Orchestra, and is a current member of the Anthracite Philharmonic. He has performed with the Altoona Symphony, the Allentown Symphony, and the Allentown Band. He has served as choir director at Schuylkill Christian Church and is currently the director of the Third Brigade Band. He and his wife Michele have two children: Michael and Gwen.
Mr. David W. Seward
Director of Middle School Bands (1977-1992)
Middle School General Music Teacher (1992-2012)
Assistant Director of High School Bands, Drill Designer (1977-2012)
Assistant Director of High School Bands Emeritus
Dave Seward grew up in Cecil, PA, a town next to Pittsburgh. His aunt told him he had an ear for music. When he was was around 5 or 6, he would play the piano making up songs. He started trumpet lessons in 5th grade. In 7th grade, he switched to baritone, and started to take lessons on organ and play the upright bass in 11th grade. When he was a Senior in High School, he started on the trombone and tuba. Dave attended Penn State University from 1973 to 1977 and also took summer classes in State College while getting credits for his permanent certificate. In the summer breaks while in college, he played keyboards for a rock band and also played in a community band. While at Penn State he played in the Marching Blue Band, Brass Choir, and the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble. With the fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Dave played in the Stage Band, the German band and the Dixieland Band. After graduating college in 1977, he was appointed as the Middle School Band Director, Assistant Marching Band Director, and Show Designer. During the early years, Dave had 5 shows to write for plus Pre-game. In 1992, he was asked to teach General Music and continued with the Marching band. He made the shows more complex and eventually had to cut back to three shows and Pre-game, and eventually to two shows and Pre-game. Dave has played with the Third Brigade Band (serving as conductor for ten years), Cressona Band, Cressona Jazz Band, the Schuylkill Community Orchestra, and Jazz with Larry Koch and other local Jazz musicians. Since retiring in 2012, he began playing with the After Hours Big Band, St. Patrick's Contemporary group, the M&J Big Band, and a rock band called "The Big and Bad Rockabilly Cats". If Dave is not practicing or performing you can find him in his custom- built wood workshop.
Mr. Rollin W. Miller
Director of High School Marching Band (1969-1977)
Director of High School Concert Band (1971-1977)
Rollin W. Miller was a native of Mahanoy City, PA. He attended Mahanoy City High School, and later graduated from the Pennsylvania State University. While at Penn State, he was a member of the famed Penn State Blue Band, under the direction of his mentor, Dr. James W. Dunlop. When Miller came in 1969, he brought his knowledge of marching skills, and modeled the Pottsville Area High School Band like the Penn State Blue Band. Mr. Miller was responsible for the arrangements of the school fight songs, as well as Script Tide, which was added in 1974. During his time, PAHS hosted the Eastern District Band, and the band also blossomed from 170 to over 300 members. His legacy will live on forever with the development of the high step marching in the pregame show. Mr. Miller passed away in 1999.
Dr. Arthur L. Delpaz
Director of High School Concert Band (1954-1971)
Director of High School Marching Band (1954-1969)
Director of Benjamin Patterson/D.H.H. Lengel Middle School Bands (1954-1974)
Born in Mahanoy City, Dec. 19, 1928, a son of Joseph and Charity Delpaz, he was a 1946 graduate of Mahanoy City H. S., and in 1950 obtained a B. S. degree in music education at West Chester Univ. of Pa. He joined the staff of Muncy H. S. for the 1950-51 term, and then entered the U. S. Army. For two years he was assigned to the 47th Infantry Division band at Camp Rucker, Ala., in the capacity of clarinetist, drum major, assistant director, and first sergeant. Following his army stint, he returned to the Muncy staff for a little over a year before coming to Pottsville H. S. for the 1954-55 term. Arthur followed the grand tradition established by Prof. Leo Minnichbach, who had been killed in an auto accident in March of 1954, but greatly expanded the numbers and possibilities of the PHS marching band, ably assisted by phys. ed. instructor Edwin Hasler who had added a corps of flag twirlers in 1954. Further, during 1956, Delpaz and his student director, Larry Koch (now owner of the Braun School of Music), established the first stage band in the county, dedicated to the performance of jazz and popular music. He also contributed many original arrangements to the marching band's repertoire, including the old folk tune "Little Red Wing" and the 1950s Georgia Gibbs pop hit "Tweedle-dee-dee," as well as writing music for the marching band and Kiltie Bagpipes to perform together. In addition, he also used a splinter group as a "pep band" to play at basketball games. Arthur was also an active participant in other community activities, having served as an organist for both Trinity Episcopal and Trinity Lutheran churches at various times. He had been a prize pupil of Dr. Robert Braun at the Braun School of Music during the early 1940s, and later did several stints as a piano teacher at that venue. Upon leaving Pottsville in 1974, Arthur achieved a PHD in Music from the Pennsylvania State University, and became a college music theory professor at Salisbury State College (University) in Salisbury, Md. until his retirement. He then moved to San Francisco for the balance of his life. Arthur Delpaz passed away at the age of 84 on September 30, 2013 in San Francisco, CA. He was buried at Sky View cemetery near Hometown, PA.
(Compiled by Larry Koch)
(Compiled by Larry Koch)
Professor Leo F. Minnichbach
Director of High School & Middle School Bands (1934-1954)
Leo F. Minnichbach was born in Blackwood, PA, outside of Minersville, and grew up in Newtown for a short time. He graduated from Reilly Township Schools, Carlisle Prep School, and studied music at the Pennsylvania State College and Columbia University. He studied arranging with Lucien Calliet, and had formal training on cello and clarinet. He was a veteran of the the 23rd Coast Artillery Band during World War I. Prior to teaching at Pottsville, he taught at Frailey Township High School for seven years, and three years as the Band Director at Blythe Township High School in New Philadelphia, PA. He was a noted composer. His best known number was the United Flags March, which he dedicated to the United Nations. He also composed such compositions as "Stadium Lights" about Pottsville High School football stadium, and "Rolling Along", as well as "Dreaming", a composition for piano. His bands received recognition for their fine drill work at football games. His halftime shows at PHS football games won him high praise. He had been a guest conductor of many bands, including the US Navy Band and Allentown Band. He was also Vice President of the Pennsylvania Music Education Association (PMEA). He was a member of the Third Brigade Band, Cressona Band, Hamburg Band, and the Shamokin Band. He was a member of St. John the Baptist Church of Pottsville, and the Holy Name Society. Professor Minnichbach was killed in a head-on collision on March 21, 1954, returning home from Valley View High School, where he attended a rehearsal of the Valley View Band, where he was scheduled to guest conduct the following day. Minnichbach was forever remembered when his photo was hung in the high school band room in 1954, and was rededicated in 2013 by the senior class.
Mrs. Patricia Ebling
Majorette Instructor (2000-2017)
Patricia "Patty" Derbes Ebling was one of the Pottsville Majorette advisors from 2000-2017. Patty, along with Deniece Krater, helped lead the Pottsville Majorette program for many years. She graduated from Pottsville in 1980, and was a member of the majorette squad. She belonged to Trinity Lutheran Church, Pottsville, and was very active in her church and community. Patty married Ande Ebling, a former trombonist in the band, and together had two children, Kaley, a former majorette at Pottsville, and Collin. She was a graduate of Penn State University and employed as a district manager for Mondelez International.
Patty passed away unexpectedly on January 30, 2017, at the age of 54. She was truly a role model for her majorettes, and her smile could always brighten up a room.
Patty passed away unexpectedly on January 30, 2017, at the age of 54. She was truly a role model for her majorettes, and her smile could always brighten up a room.