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Evansville, Indiana
October 23, 1987     The Message
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October 23, 1987

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October 23, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 15 Jerry's kids New Mater Dei director has big plans for smz 11 marching band By MARY T. ELLERT Message Staff Writer Even though this is his first year of teaching at Evansville )Mater Dei High School, Jerry Grannan has been a familiar face in the band room for over twelve years. It all started when he was a fifth-grader enrolled in the Mater Dei feeder school music program. His instrument was the trumpet, and he continued to play it throughout his junior high and high school years. Now, five years after his graduation from Mater Dei, ,Crannan has returned to his 'alma mater to take over the reins of the school's music pro- gram. And he couldn't be hap- pier with the success of this year's marching band. "The kids really did an ex- ceptional job," he said. "I can't thank them enough because they've really worked." The 23-year-old director proudly pointed to the trophies lining the band room wall which the Marching Wildcats won this fall. The group par- " ticipated in nine competitions and won three overall first place awards, two overall se- cond place awards and two best percussion awards in the Class A division -- the category for small bands in small schools. In addition, the 42-member band captured a first place trophy in the Class AAA division, edging out the larger schools of Pike Central, Tecumseh and Cor- ydon Central. Grarman was also quick to mention the Marching Wildcats won the highest award given at the Fall Festival parade -- the Grand Marshal's trophy. This is the first year Mater Dei has won the award, to his knowledge. He attributes some of the band's success to a new, con- temporary marching style. , Grannan has worked at relating the band's music to its forma- tions so that "the drill matches the tune." "The whole marching con- cept, overall, is different from what they've been used to. What we're doing now is more closely related to theater -- we're putting on a show now," he explained. "It was a big change for them. I think that they really wanted to go for it." The Marching Wildcats are , one of the smallest bands in the area. Currently, there are 32 band members and 10 color guard members. However, in- terest is growing as Grannan ex- pects the band to be around 55 members strong next season. Grannan, who earned aB.S. in Instrumental Music Educa- tion from Indiana State Univer- sity, Terre Haute, said he has big plans -- not only for the ! ..... - ...... SCHNELL VlLLE i FOR COMPLETE ELECTRICAL SERVICE H.G. FISCHER RT. 1 ST. ANTHONY marching band, but for the whole music department. "I want to build a music pro- gram here," he said simply. He explained that after the march- ing band season, he plans to teach a course in music history and theory before the concert, jazz and pep band seasons. He hopes his students will develop a real appreciation for music. To make his point, Grannan picked up the sheet music for Schubert's "Death and .the Maiden." "There's a real emo- tional area in music. I've got to teach them that this is supposed to sound morbid," he said, shaking the page. "They've got ' GARY BURDETTE to understand the way morbid is supposed to sound. They've got to feel that in order for that point to come across. If not, they're just going to be playing these black notes on the page -- which isn't any good. Any true musician doesn't play notes -- he plays music." IN ADDITION to his work with the high school students, Grannan also logs many hours in the feeder schools promoting the music program. He estimated there are around 186 students -- in grades 5-8 -- who participate. He said he gets "a whole lot of support" from music instructor Kay Jolliff who has worked in the grade schools for the past 22 years. The students in the grade school music program have a great deal to look forward to when they enter Mater Dei, according to Grannan. "This high school still is, I feel, the best high school in Evansville. They get a disciplined environment, a Christian environment. There are so many extra things that the students get here that they can't get in the public schools," he said proudly. "Mater Dei High School is definitely a level above the rest." MD Band BoOster:Club has tradition of support Behind any successful marching band is a hard-working group of parents. At least that's the case at Mater Dei High School. The MD Band Booster Club has had a long tradition of sup- porting the music program at the school, according to the second-year president, Becky Jackson. "I think we have an exceptional group of parents,": she said. "Our parents back the band 100 percent." The band.parents, along with the new director, Jerry Gran- nan, worked long hours at the Fall Festival, parking cars and staffing a food booth. Although the final figures are not yet in, Jackson estimated that the Booster Club cleared around $2,000. In addition to working at the Fall Festival, the Band Booster also hold an annual card party in the spring. Last year', they raised $16,000 for new uniforms through cor- porate donations and a student candy sale. Jackson said she is pleased with the new band director and is optimistic for the future. "We're on our way up. I can see the band growing and get- ting bigger and better," she said. Other officers in the Band Booster Club are Martha Lam- pkin, vice-president; Donna Alsop, secretary; Peggy Bishop, treasurer; and Cricket Rheinlander, historian. I H i COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Homo! Fire & Lifo! Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agencylnc. 311 N. Wabash 425-3187 J ANGIE DEZEMBER -- Message Photo by Mary Ann Hughes JERRY GRANNAN -- Message Photo by Mary Ann Hughes