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‘This Is The Place To Be’: Drum Major Carson Pedaci Dancing At THON 2024

The 2023 school year has been a whirlwind for Blue Band drum major Carson Pedaci.

In August, Pedaci was chosen to be the 62nd drum major in Blue Band history ahead of his junior year. It was a position that came with challenges, like the pregame flip, but Pedaci was confident in his ability.

Pedaci got his first real shot at the flip on a warm summer night in September before the Nittany Lions took on West Virginia to open the season. After he high-stepped through the ranks of the Blue Band, it was time.

“Landing that first flip is somewhat legendary for me,” Pedaci said. “I was just kind of going off muscle memory. As soon as I felt my feet hit the ground, there was just a wave of relief that sank right to my feet.”

Now, Pedaci is facing a different challenge — he’s dancing at this year’s THON. He’s grown somewhat used to electrifying crowds inside Beaver Stadium but not inside the Bryce Jordan Center.

The 46-hour no-sitting marathon is a culmination of Penn State’s fundraising efforts to fight childhood cancer through Four Diamonds and the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. As a Hershey native, it’s not a new cause for the drum major.

Throughout middle and high school, Pedaci participated in mini-THONs where he choreographed dances to be performed at the event while trying to raise as much money as he possibly could. The pandemic got in the way of his last years of mini-THON, and by the time he got to Penn State, Pedaci supported THON by cheering from the stands.

“I haven’t really been exposed to everything that goes into THON,” Pedaci said. “I’m really using this opportunity of being a dancer to see what it’s all about.”

Despite the excitement of getting to experience THON from beginning to end, it’s a daunting prospect. Pedaci said he was eager once he found out he was going to be a dancer but knew he was signing up for a “grueling” 46 hours.

Even with what lay ahead, Pedaci called THON the organization’s “magnum opus” and said he was honored to be chosen to support the cause.

“What’s stuck with me is that we dance so one day we don’t have to,” Pedaci said. “If you’re ever going to get exposed to this, this is the place to be. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”

Once Pedaci officially became a dancer, he started preparing. He’s a self-decribed “scatterbrain” and said just packing and getting organized is one of the biggest things he’s done with his preparation. After packing, he cut caffeine. As for sleep, though?

“We’re working on it,” Pedaci said.

Pedaci is dancing for Band Together, the THON organization that represents all Penn State Athletic bands and the Pride of the Lion pep band. This year, Band Together has two Four Diamonds families that it’s supported throughout the fundraising year. While Pedaci hasn’t gotten to meet the families, they’ve helped personify what he’s dancing for.

Meeting and interacting with families on the floor of THON is something Pedaci is most excited for. He said that along with learning what goes into THON, he wants to learn the stories of the families.

Pedaci knows THON is going to be a challenging, yet extremely rewarding weekend. He’s not worried about the challenges, though. He’s got the whole Blue Band behind him. Just like they supported him as he tumbled through the air in September, they’ll support him through the weekend, too. This time, his feet will be on the ground the whole time.

“It’s definitely encouraging to have all these people and all my friends behind me cheering me on,” Pedaci said. “I think it really goes to show the unity behind Penn State and our willingness to come together to fight for a common cause.”

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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