Paul Semicek

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  • January 12, 2024
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Nearly 55 years after he began an era in local music that remains unmatched today, Paul Semicek is still earning accolades for his inspiration and dedication to making music relevant to so many local students. Today’s recognition comes from a very unlikely source – the Ed Romance Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He is being recognized for bringing so much attention to the Mount Carmel Area School District and this section of Pennsylvania.

A native of Mount Carmel, Paul’s career began at age 13 playing the trumpet in pick-up bands and orchestras. His tremendous talent earned him a scholarship to Susquehanna University. He was drafted into the army, where he spent two years touring Europe with the U.S. Army 3rd Armored Division Band, which was George Patton’s Division.

After his military service and graduation from Susquehanna, Paul began teaching at Mount Carmel High School in 1958. Bringing the drum corps style to his marching band (the first in the country to do so), he would change the name of the band to the “Mounties.” In 1964, the Mounties became the first American band to play at a Canadian Football League game.

In 1963 Semicek began the “Festival of Stars” drum corps show. It attracted top drum corps to the area and brought along a host of famous musical guests to perform with the Mounties. They included Gene Krupa, trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Tonight Show band leader “Doc” Severinsen, Tommy Newsome, Ed Shaughnessey, and others including Miss America and Miss Pennsylvania.

In 1976, Semicek moved on to Danville, where the Festival would continue. Combined, both bands would appear at over 110 NFL games, the Prekaness in Maryland, and at the final career game of international soccer star, Pele and the Chicago Bear’s legend Brian Piccolo. His bands also made appearances at major league baseball games, including the Phillies, Pirates, Yankees and Orioles.

For all of his accomplishments, in 2011, he was honored with his induction into the Pennsylvania Drum Corps Associates Hall of Fame. Some have estimated that, in his career, Paul’s bands performed for more than 1 million spectators. Ed Romance, the founder of the local hall of fame once said: “Paul Semicek is an outstanding individual, a person who excels in creating musical extravaganzas with young people. He is a man with dedication and desire that matches or exceeds the best sposrts coaches in the entire region.”

Paul continues to write and arrange music from his home in Kulpmont. He is the father of three daughters; Lynne Zsido, Leslie Savage, and Lisa Jaschick.

Categories: 2013 Hall of Fame