Fans of the Derby High School Marching Band will be able to feel the love while watching the band’s show this fall.
The show is called “About Love” and it combines popular love songs from the 1990s with pieces from an orchestral work based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
“In between songs, that Romeo and Juliet theme comes throughout, so it’s pretty cool,” Director Adam DeVault said.
Contemporary pieces include “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal and “No Diggity” by Blackstreet. The orchestral pieces were composed by Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky in the 19th century.
Combining the different styles of ’90s pop music with classical pieces provides a fresh challenge for the students, DeVault said. But that juxtaposition is part of the show’s entertainment.
“The crowd will like it because it sucks everybody in,” he said. “Everybody knows those [’90s] tunes, and then it also gives us the opportunity to teach some music from the 1800s.”
Jason Lord, who wrote the show for the DHS band, has wanted a band to perform the show for a long time, DeVault said. Choreography in the show is written so that it reflects the musical themes.
“We always try and write movements for the band that fit what’s going on in the music, and the same with the color guard,” DeVault said. “Color guard is a visual representation of what we’re playing.”
DeVault said he was happy with the band’s performance last year and he looks forward to what they’re able to accomplish this fall.
“Last year was a step up for us,” he said. “I felt like we had a lull the year before, and last year we were able to regain some of our composure.”
The group finished in the finals last season at the Kansas Bandmasters Association contest.
There are about 130 members in the band this year. While the bulk of band members are underclassmen, DeVault says they’re supported by a strong class of seniors.
“It’s not a big class, but it is a vital class,” he said.
The band will also be supported by a new assistant band director, Rachel Villareale. A Pennsylvania native, Villareale has a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Villareale first came to Kansas while earning her master’s degree in music education and instrumental conducting at Kansas State University. She most recently worked as co-director for the Rose Hill High School band program.
A career bassoon player, she has been helping with woodwind sectionals and instructing the drum majors on conducting.
“I am excited to work with a big band that’s already at a really good spot,” she said. “There’s a lot of really good fundamental structure there, and to
see where that takes them with a show that’s really enjoyable is going to be
Villareale’s position also requires her to work with fifth graders and band students at Derby North Middle School.
Senior Abbie Grosso, a clarinetist, will return as drum major this season, along with seniors Hannah Ulrich, an alto saxophonist, and Kendal Meyer, an oboist.