Retired Wayne High band leader putting alumni band together
He's not resorting to bribery or strong-arming like Jake and Elwood Blues did back in the day, but Brad Weber is putting the band back together.
Weber, who retired as the Wayne High School band instructor in 2013, thought it would be a great idea to get some of the kids he taught during his 27-year career at the school together to march and perform during the Wayne Chicken Show this July.
"Thinking back on all those years of great kids I had and to have them come back and play together, even if they haven't played for a while, would be great," he said. "It would be awesome to see some of those former students and remember all the years and the good times we had."
With more than 120 kids playing in the Wayne High band each year – that's a lot of kids. But a few have already indicated they would be willing to take part, and he's hoping to hear from more former band members between now and the Chicken Show parade on Saturday, July 9.
Weber said that Lindsay McLaughlin with the Wayne Schools Foundation has been helping to promote the alumni band, and said the school and Wayne State College's band department – of which Weber is still part of as an adjunct instructor – is working to put the alumni band together for the parade.
Weber said the alumni band will play the school fight song, "3 Cheers," and the Wayne State College fight song. He's also writing a short drum cadence the drummers will play in between songs along the parade route. Dr. David Bohnert from Wayne State College and current Wayne High band instructor Alex Wieland are helping Weber organize the alumni band.
And Weber said it doesn't matter if you don't have your old instrument in storage – he said he would line up instruments for those who might need them.
"Adam Endicott was one of my trumpet players and he said he didn't have his trumpet, and I said he could borrow my dad's old Conn," Weber said.
For those who don't want to march the entire route – particularly the drummers and the big-instrument players – Weber said that Bob Liska is donating a flatbed trailer that the band will use to carry the big equipment.
"The drums and tubas will be up on the trailer, and the others can march alongside if they want," Weber said. "And it doesn't matter if they're not in step as long as they can keep the beat."
Weber said that any Wayne High band alumni who are interested in playing in the band during the Chicken Show can e-mail him at email@example.com, or e-mail Dr. Bohnert at firstname.lastname@example.org. Weber said that PDF files of the music and other information will be sent to those who are interested in performing. Weber said the band will meet an hour before the parade at a location to be determined to run through the songs before the parade. Current Wayne High band members are also welcome to be a part of the band.
"It's primarily for Wayne High alumni, but if there are some Wayne State grads who want to be part of it, I have no problem with that," Weber said. "Just seeing those students again would be awesome for me, and to work with them again and share memories and talk with them would be great."