THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Friday, May 3, 1996 TAG: 9605010144 SECTION: VIRGINIA BEACH BEACON PAGE: B01 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY SARAH WILDERMUTH, HIGH SCHOOL CORRESPONDENT LENGTH: Medium: 98 lines
The marches of John Philip Sousa have disappeared from the music folders of many high school musicians.
Today's marching bands play other types of music - classical, popular and jazz.
High school bands must change with the times and one band that has evolved over 30 years is Kempsville High School.
Jerry M. Cole was Kempsville's first band director, from 1965 to 1978.
The band had about $1,200 to purchase instruments and supplies for the year for about 90 musicians. They sported Eisenhower-style red jackets, white pants, white hats and white spats over black shoes.
The ranks included woodwinds, brass, percussion and majorettes. Cole's band changed its half-time show each week adding new music and field formations that included pictures of animals and flowers.
Traditional marches such as ``Stars and Stripes Forever'' were popular, but so were popular tunes of the time such as ``Let the Sunshine In'' and ``Spinning Wheel.''
While Cole was the band director, the visiting band and the home team band would both play at half-time. Confusion sometimes resulted.
At one game between Kempsville and Maury, both bands played ``The Horse'' at half-time. Kempsville returned to the stands, and began playing ``The Horse'' again.
When they finished, Maury echoed it across the field.
For the rest of the game, there was not a moment when one of the bands was not playing ``The Horse.''
The next day in the sports section of the newspaper, the article was not about the football game where Maury overwhelmingly beat Kempsville.
Instead it focused on how, in the ``Battle of the Bands,'' Kempsville outplayed Maury with ``The Horse.''
Ever since that night in 1967, ``The Horse'' has been the main fight song for Kempsville's marching band.
Some Kempsville alumni miss those old-time shows.
``Kempsville doesn't do a half-time show with marching music anymore,'' said Sharon R. Deroussel, who was head majorette under Cole between 1967 and 1970.
She also misses the majorettes.
When Cole was at Kempsville, band competitions were uncommon in Virginia.
The marching band primarily performed at football games, parades and non-competitive band celebrations.
Cole said Kempsville ``was the official John F. Kennedy band as we performed many times for the carrier's arrivals, departures and Christmas parties.''
Kempsville's next band director, Billy T. Cooper, made some dramatic changes between 1978 and 1981. Membership jumped to around 200.
Cooper attributes the growth to the fact that they began entering competitions.
Under Cooper's direction, majorettes began to twirl rifles and flags instead of batons. Visiting bands stopped performing at football games and the home band performed for the entire half-time show. The uniforms were red, white and blue instead of the red, white and black and were made by band parents.
There were other changes. The half-time music included show tunes and Spanish music. The field formations were asymmetrical.
Around 1977, competitions for marching bands became more popular and Cooper entered the band in an average of 10 competitions in the fall and one in the spring. The band practice time increased from three days a week for one to two hours, to four two-hour practices each week.
From 1982 to 1983, Ron Scott was the band director at Kempsville, followed by Mark U. Riemer, who had the position from 1984 to 1988. During that time, the band averaged 100 members. Uniforms featured long blue-and-silver capes and cavalier hats with white feathers. The band still played a lot of Spanish music, but added show tunes such as ``Memories'' from the Broadway musical ``Cats.''
One of Riemer's favorite band moments took place in Mount Vernon at a state competition. The Kempsville band parents were finally acknowledged for all their hard work and were awarded a special trophy for first place band parents association.
From 1988 to 1991, Richard Good oversaw a marching band of from 90 to 120 people. The uniform changed from blue to white pants and the band competed about seven times each year. Music included Dvorak, Billy Joel and Earth, Wind and Fire.
William E. Pease, the current band director, has been at Kempsville since 1992. Membership is stable. Silver helmets with white plumes have been added to the uniforms. The band enters about five to seven competitions each year. There are no rifles, only flags. The music has included the theme from ``Star Trek'' and Tchaichovsky. There is a different theme each year. Loyalty to the band is strong.
``Band is my life,'' said Peter Yong-Kyu Kim, 18, a senior who was the drum major last school year. ``Through band, I have made many of my closest and oldest friends. Band has also helped me to explore and to express my musical talents. Without it, my personality and character would differ greatly - probably for the worse.'' MEMO: Sarah Wildermuth is a junior at Kempsville High School and is a
member of the band. She wrote this story to fulfill a writing
requirement as a high school correspondent. by CNB