Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 21, 2019
Pep band provides the beat for DISHS home games
The Deer Isle-Stonington High School pep band plays for attendees at the annual WinterFest in Stonington earlier this month.
by Monique Labbe
Fans of the Deer Isle-Stonington High School basketball teams have had live music at all but two home games this season, thanks to the school’s pep band.
The band is made up mainly of high school students, with some middle schoolers and even a guest or two from the community. The students spend an hour a day twice a week in band class to practice, with a shorter half hour practice once a week.
“Pep band season is our busiest,” said band director Beth Kyzer. “This year there are eight home games, all double-headers. The only time the students don’t play at the home games is if they are away for something else. This year we missed two due to a theater festival that most of the band was involved in.”
Kyzer said she would “love to see” more community members sitting in with the band during games, as it is a “terrific experience for the students, for those joining us, and for the audience and builds a sense of community. It’s always wonderful to see the exchange between experienced players and the students.”
While basketball games keep the students in the band busy during the season, the band is also involved in community events and school festivals throughout the year. The band played at WinterFest in Stonington earlier this month, and also takes part in Memorial Day celebrations on the island every year. Many of the students also play in the Fourth of July parade with the Deer Isle Community Band. Additionally, they participate in District VI Honors Festivals and they give a spring concert that is open to the community.
“I am always happy to bring the students out to perform,” said Kyzer. “The more they can do for the community and experience performing, the better.”
The performances at the basketball games are well received, said Kyzer, as the music played—90 percent of which is chosen by the students—helps keep the energy high during warm ups and halftime.
The students who play in the band noted that playing in the pep band is their favorite time of the year, due to the music they get to play and having such heavy involvement in choosing the music, said Kyzer.