Gilbertsville, PA 19525
Teacher for 35 years in Reading
Proprietor Douglas Sign Company
Boyertown Alumni Marching Band
About the Artist
~ authored by Jody Dolansky in 2005, edited by Jane Stahl in 2020
Meeting Doug Davidheiser, known as "Peanut" to his oldest friends, has been involved in the arts his whole life. As a child he shaped his creativity by painting toy cars; and as he grew older, he painted his friends' cars. In high school he only dabbled in art classes but was always impressed with Boyertown's art department. He remembers Mr. Gerhart as one of his best art teachers and was inspired by the work of classmate Linda (Rohrbach) Austerberry.
His fulltime hobbies in high school revolved around sports-particularly football, diving, swimming and gymnastics. While no one was watching, he practiced dancing in front of the mirror while American Bandstand was on and impressed all the girls at junior high dances. In college his art interest was furthered because his roommate was an art major and Doug often completed his projects for him. Plus, he worked on a friend's race car and that's when he knew he had a gift for lettering.
But his major in college led him to a 35-year career in teaching physical education at Reading Middle School which he enjoyed until the end. While teaching, however, Doug kept his art skills alive by maintaining a small sign painting business specializing in signs for real estate. He tried to stay small at first but his business grew quickly through referrals. He became more and more skilled with each job and learned techniques like pinstriping, gold leafing, and silk screening. He holds the title of being the first in Boyertown to do work in vinyl. He gives credit to one of his friends who discovered this new technology while on vacation in Germany. Doug enjoys working by himself and enjoys the niche he'd created in the sign painting world in Boyertown. He takes some pride in his home-its history and in its purchase-and the barn he built to house his business.
About the Sponsor
Alumni Marching Unit is so proud! On Sunday, October 20th, 2019, BAMU settled into its home in front of The Other Farm Brewing Company on East Philadelphia Avenue. A project two years in the making, BAMU was sponsored by the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit and was skillfully crafted by Doug Davidheiser. BAMU, Doug's third unique Bear Fever bear, joins "Box," the Body-Borneman Insurance bear, and "Yogi Bear-ra," located at Bear Baseball Stadium.
Davidheiser's bears showcase his willingness to go "all out" for the project. Each bear began as one of the standard Bear Fever forms. Doug then dismembered the sculptures and rearranged the parts to create a brand new and dramatically unique form. All 3 bears required specialized skills and uncommon creative touches.
After leading the marching unit through the Boyertown Halloween Parade the previous evening, BAMU was unveiled after a short ceremony to the marching unit's signature song "Saints." Seated atop one of the marching unit's vintage bass drums, BAMU can be found playing a trumpet that belonged to unit president Tom McHugh and is also adorned with its very own ARS button in honor of the late Boyertown music legend and Cavalcade of Bands pioneer Arlen R. Saylor.
In addition to Doug, the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit thanks everyone who helped bring their dream of this unique sculpture to reality including Hank Frecon and The Other Farm Brewing Company for providing BAMU a welcoming home and Jayne McHugh for spearheading the project from the outset and for all she's done throughout the unit's history
The Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit (Information taken from www.boyertownalumnimarchingunit.org/aboutus.htm Marching Unit)
The Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit formed in 1976 as an all-volunteer, family-oriented unit proudly serving the community while providing its members with opportunities to continue the musical activities that they loved.
The unit is a popular draw within the community, attracting hundreds to its concerts, special occasion performances, and participation in local parades. Membership is open to alumni and residents of the Boyertown Area School District. The organization consists of three different performing groups; the marching unit, the concert band, and the ceremonial band.
The marching unit is comprised of our brass, woodwind, percussion, color guard, and honor guard elements. The full unit marches in several parades throughout the year and also presents annual spring and holiday concerts. In addition to the unit's regular performances the unit has traveled throughout the eastern Unites States performing in various events including the country's oldest 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island, the Nation Independence Day Parade in Washing, D.C., Disney World's Main Street Parade, nine Miss America Parades in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Hershey Centennial Parade, the Midnight Independence Day Parade in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Celebration Parade in Washington, D.C., and the Lake George Community Band Festival in Lake George, New York.
The concert band is comprised of the full contingent of our alumni instrumentalists. This non-moving ensemble performs throughout the year with regular performances at Boyertown Fun Days, St. John's Hill Church, and The Great Swamp Picnic.
A spinoff of our concert band, the ceremonial band was formed to increase the unit's involvement within the Boyertown Community. Typically comprised of 15 - 20 musicians, this smaller group performs throughout the year at various community driven events. Recent appearances include the Boyertown Oktoberfest, the opening night of the Boyertown Pickfest, and the Colebrookdale Railroad's 150th Anniversary Celebration.
History: its humble beginnings to today
From its first Annual Spring Concert in 1977, from its first parade as part of the nation's Bicentennial Celebration to major parades throughout the northeast and beyond, and from its first field show at the 1976 Boyertown Cavalcade of Bands to a 2014 guest performance at the 55th Boyertown Cavalcade, the Unit has survived and thrived thanks to the support of its patrons and the community, Boyertown Area School District band directors Arlen Saylor and Donald Kuszyk, a core group of dedicated members, and many others too numerous to mention.
The Unit actually had its humble unofficial beginning 10 years before its first concert in the spring of 1966 when about 25 musicians - organized by future first Unit President Dennis Prutzman - surprised the Boyertown High School Marching Unit upon its return home from Florida, where it had become the first band ever to win both major awards at the Festival of States in St. Petersburg. Later that year, the group appeared in the Boyertown Centennial Parade, strolling down the street in street clothes and playing to an appreciative audience.
The band struggled to survive over the next 10 years, with its appearances limited to playing in the stands at the annual Thanksgiving Day high school football game. Then in 1976, businesses in the borough met to form chapters to march in the local Bicentennial Parade and member Dave Fridinger - then one of the owners of the Rathskellar Bar and later one of the Unit's founders and board members - was urged to get a band together. For that parade, the bar was known as "the Rats Cellar" and the band performed as "the Minute Mice" while being led down the street by a member dressed as a rat.
At a party after the parade, members decided that they wanted to keep the group going and it was officially organized with a charter and by-laws, a board of directors, and about 25 band and 15 band front members. Its first performance as the Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit came at the Boyertown Cavalcade of Bands in the fall when it formed a big A on the field and played four songs and the first concert was presented at Boyertown Junior High West on April 9, 1977.
The Unit made its first road trip in 1994 to march in the country's oldest July 4th Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island. Since then it has performed in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, D.C., the Main Street Parade in Disney World, nine Miss America Parades in Atlantic City, the Hershey Centennial Parade, July 4th parades in the Boston, Massachusetts area, the Midnight Independence Day Parade in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the Boys Scouts of America Centennial Celebration Parade in Washington, D.C. In 2019, the unit travelled to New York to perform at the Lake George Community Band Festival.
The Unit also regularly performs in local patriotic and Halloween parades and has presented an annual Holiday Concert since 2004.
The Unit gives a scholarship to a Boyertown High School senior each year. In 2010, it received the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce's James K. Boyer Quality of Life Award and in 2017 it received the Special Recognition Award at the Boyertown Citizen of the Year Gala.
Special concerts over the years have recognized the contributions of Arlen Saylor and Donald Kuszyk to the Boyertown School District music program, Vietnam and World War II veterans, and those who heroically risked and gave their lives on September 11, 2001. In 2013, the Unit honored Dennis Frey, its first Band Captain and inspiration and driving force throughout its history and in 2014 paid tribute to the Pottstown Band.
For more information contact Band Captain Dennis Weller at firstname.lastname@example.org