Mrs. Jamie Orth
Junior High School
Mrs. Jennife Ax
Mrs. Christeen Ceratti
Mr. Tom Frost
Ms. Samantha Rappolt
About the Marching Band Director, Marie Dewar
Marie Dewar is the Director of Bands and Choirs for the Ambridge Area High School, and she has been working with the district since the early 1990’s, where she started out as a woodwind instructor for the band program’s Summer Band and Band Camp seasons. In 1999, she was hired full time as the Choral Director and Assistant Band Director. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, with a BS degree in Music Education. While a student at Penn State, Marie was a member of the BlueBand, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Blue Band and Church Choir, as well as a substitute Eb, Bb and Bass Clarinetist for the Altoona Symphony. Currently, she is working on completing a Master’s Degree. Marie manages to find time to perform both on clarinet and voice in her community, as well.
Mrs. Dewar is also the advisor to the Tri-M Music Honor Society at Ambridge Area High School, in addition to the club advisor to the Thespian and Bible Clubs. She is a member of NAfME; National Association for Music Education and PMEA; the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, as well as the American Choral Directors Association, and has been named in several different Who’s Who publications in recent years.
Marie lives in the school district with her husband, Bob and three children, Nick, Ben, and Elizabeth.
Ambridge High School Marching Band Bio
The Ambridge Area School District has a rich history that spans almost 100 years. The American Bridge Company (a division of US Steel) built the current High School for the children of its employees. As the district has grown with the area, weathering both good times and bad, we have strong ties to our heritage and to our community. From the early years of the steel mills to the current surge in businesses in the region, Ambridge Area School District has remained consistent in its commitment to providing the very best education possible to our students.
The Ambridge Area High School Marching Band is rich in tradition, with almost many of the school’s students participating in the music program. The music they perform is unique because the students add their own personal mark to the performance, adding to the “show” quality that is the Ambridge Area High School Marching Band.
The band’s numerous honors include participation in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2004, participation in Disney’s Very Merry Christmas Parade in 2002 and several appearances at Steelers games, both during the season and in the playoffs. More recently, the band performed in the halftime show at the Sugar Bowl in 2009, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Parade in 2010, and at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World in 2011.
The Ambridge Area High School Steel Drum Band, under the direction of Todd Hartman, has received regional and national recognition for its outstanding musical ability, unique style, and infectious energy. The ensemble was founded by Sal Aloe and with the help of Phil Solomon, a local steel pan builder. The Late Richard Zana took the reins a few years later and took the program to new level of popularity beyond “Bridger Country” during the 1990’s. After Mr. Zana’s retirement in 1999, Todd Hartman took over and has been leading the program ever since.
Since its inception in 1988, the steel band program has grown from five students participating after school to an average of eighty band students enrolled in three levels of classes spread over four periods during the school day. Their current musical repertoire reflects a diverse collection of styles including traditional calypso & soca, big band swing, afro-cuban and latin-jazz, classical, pop, and tropical-rock.
The steel band was one of only three high school groups from across the nation selected to perform at two of the American Association of School Administrators National Conferences, one of which gave them an opportunity to open up for Steven Spielberg’s keynote address in San Francisco. Additionally, they have been to three National School Board Association Conferences, and most recently, performed for over 9,000 engineers and vendors from all over the world at the annual Association for Iron and Steel Technology’s International Conference.
The band has shared the Heinz Hall stage with the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops and has appeared annually in B.E. Taylor’s popular Christmas show. Since 2002, the steel band has been invited to perform cultural outreach assemblies at thirty two different school districts located around the Pittsburgh area and has performed at twelve different institutions of higher learning. Their most memorable experience came when they played with the marching band in the 2004 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. It marked the first time in the 115 year history of the parade that a steel band combined with a marching band.