When Katie Schreckengast won the title of Miss Pennsylvania in June 2017, she looked out into the audience and saw her Pennsylvania State University Marching Blue Band family supporting her.
Schreckengast has been playing saxophone since third grade and was a member of the Penn State band for three years. She represented her school and band during the Miss America competition in several ways. During the contestant parade, she wore a custom-designed band-inspired ball gown with “PSU” emblazoned on the back of the skirt. Then she performed on her saxophone for the talent portion of the nationally televised competition.
Recently, Schreckengast returned for a Penn State football game, visiting her band family. While there, fans flocked around her, amusing her friends in the saxophone section.
“My section thinks it’s so funny because these different people will come up to me and take their pictures with me, and [my section] doesn’t see me as Miss Pennsylvania; they see me as Katie, the saxophone player,” Schreckengast says. “I’m speechless when it comes to my band friends because they are the most incredible people, and it’s crazy for me to think if I weren’t a member of the Blue Band, I might not have ever met some of these people who are now my greatest supporters.”
After Schreckengast played saxophone at Miss America, she had several young girls reach out to her for advice and to express their appreciation. “I had girls from everywhere messaging me, emailing me, sending me [direct messages] on my Instagram, saying they play the saxophone and they were thinking about quitting or didn’t think it was a viable talent to compete with in the organization, and they messaged me to say they were going to be competing with their saxophone,” she says. “I think that’s the coolest thing to me, being able to have these tangible responses from people saying what I’m doing is making a difference in their lives, and it’s truly amazing and made my year.”