The reformation of Palmerton Area High School's Marching Band is in full swing.

After a five-year absence, the marching band will be a presence during home football games this year.

Thomas Heinick, marching band director, said the band will return this year as a pep band.

"This will be a transition year," Heinick said. "There's been lots of support from the community, as well as the school board and administration."

The last time the marching band performed was during the 2009-10 school year, Heinick said.

At present, Heinick said the band consists of 18 students, 13 of whom are junior high level, and five from the high school.

"We have a most enthusiastic group of 18 students who are great kids," Heinick said. "They're working hard, having a blast, showing initiative and are enthusiastic."

However, Heinick cautioned that the band will not do any field shows this coming school year.

Instead, he said it will do home varsity games, whereby it will play pep music and "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The goal, Heinick said, is for the band to transition into doing a full field show, as well as away games, by next school year.

"We'll play at pep rallies and whatever other spirit events are held," he said. "We will again be a big part of the atmosphere."

The band has been busy in recent weeks. Last week, it held three three-hour rehearsals, while this week it had three four-hour rehearsals, Heinick said.

By the time the high school football team plays its home-opener on Sept. 5, Heinick said the band should be ready to go.

"We will gather here and be a cohesive marching unit," he said. "We will march to the stadium to the sounds of a drum cadence, and they will hear us play our fight song, and 'The Star-Spangled Banner.'"

Heinick said another goal is to start up a band front as well.

"I hope to have a squad of flag twirlers along with an honor guard (American flag with a guard, possibly state flag, marching band banner, etc.)," he said. "Any students in grades 7-12 will be eligible."

Heinick said parents who would like more information may contact him at theinick@palmerton.org.

Count Chrissy Rehatchek, president of the Palmerton Area Music Parents Association, among the many who are pleased that the marching band is back.

"It's something we have pushed for and hoped for," Rehatchek said. "These kids are so excited, and we are."

Rehatchek encouraged the community to attend events and support the band.

"Not every child is an athlete, and they can have that chance to shine," she said. "Music stays with you your whole life; it doesn't go away."

Rehatchek said the PAMPA will host its annual bingo event on Sept. 20 at the Sokol Hall, 452 Lehigh Ave. in Palmerton. All proceeds from the bingo and raffle will benefit the music students of the district, Rehatchek said.

Heinick said the band plans to be able to sustain itself through a combination of funding from the district, as well as fundraisers conducted by PAMPA for items and events not district funded.

As for uniforms, Heinick said the band will be a bit casual this year, as it will use uniform polo shirts and khaki pants. By next year, he said the goal is to try to outfit everyone in the band uniforms that were purchased in the mid to late 1990s, while it will look into funding for new uniforms in the future.

In the meantime, Heinick said there is room for more band members. Anyone who would like to join for this season may contact Heinick as soon as possible and plan to attend rehearsals from 3-5 p.m. this Tuesday and Thursday in the high school music room.

Students in grades 7-12 with prior experience on brass, woodwinds and percussion are welcome, Heinick said. Rehearsals during the school year will be conducted on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school.