MHS alumni band
Assistant MHS band director Jeremy Grosklos and alumnus Matthew Britton are working to bring the alumni marching band together and hope this event will become an annual Fourth of July tradition.
“It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this, but a lot of people have been saying it would be nice for past band members to get back together,” Grosklos said. “So I thought the Fourth of July would be a great time. We would have a picnic after the parade where the alumni could share the memories they’ve made. I think it would be pretty exciting.”
Grosklos himself is among the MHS band alumni, having played the bass drum in the marching band from 1992 to 1996.
He said the event is still in the early planning stage, but he’s already hearing from some alumni who want to march in Marietta’s annual Fourth of July parade.
“There are 228 former band members on the Wall of Sound Facebook page,” Grosklos said. “So we’re hoping for at least 50 or 60 people of all ages to participate.”
He noted there are entire families who have been past members of the MHS Wall of Sound.
Marietta resident Andrea Kostelac, husband Keith, and oldest son Nathan Hale, are all MHS band alumni. Daughter Meghan Kostelac, a sophomore at MHS, is a current member of the band, and youngest son Gavin Kostelec, now in the sixth grade, will also soon join the Wall of Sound.
“I graduated in 1991, and Keith in 1993, so we were in the band together for two years,” Andrea said. “I played flute, and he was in percussion, playing the bass drum. (Nathan), who graduated last year, played flute in the concert band and bass drum in the marching band.”
Meghan plays French horn in the concert band and the mellophone during the marching band season.
Andrea said everyone but Nathan, who will be working at Cedar Point this summer, will probably march in the alumni band July Fourth. She said although Gavin isn’t be playing an instrument yet, he can march in the parade as a flag bearer.
“We’re really excited about it,” she said. “I’m a little rusty on the flute, so I hope we’ll be playing something easy. And the parade route is not that long for the Fourth of July.”
The Lisk family in Reno also plan to be part of the July Fourth event.
“I’m planning on it, but I do need to start practicing now,” said Chris Lisk who played trumpet with the MHS marching band from the sixth grade through graduation in 1985.
Her son, Andrew is a senior who plays trombone in the MHS concert band and the euphonium in the marching band. Daughter Allison, an eighth-grader, plays the baritone saxophone in the marching unit.
“My dad was also in the MHS band during the 1960s, and I have an older brother and sister who are also past members of the band,” Chris said. “I’m trying to persuade them and some of the band members I graduated with to join the alumni band, too.”
She noted the MHS band became known as the Wall of Sound in 1982 while she was still a member.
Grosklos plans to have some practice time for the alumni band in advance of the Fourth of July parade.
“The current Wall of Sound rehearses three or four days prior to the parade each year,” he said. “So the alumni marching band should have some rehearsal, too. But I’ll also be sending out music to the alumni via e-mail and Facebook.”
Grosklos is also hopeful that the alumni band event will help draw attention to a current fundraising campaign to purchase new uniforms for the 2014-2015 MHS band members.
“This would be the first new uniform change for the band in about 20 years,” he said. “We want to raise $24,000 and have the new uniforms by the fall of this year. I’m already measuring all of next year’s band members for the proper fit.”
The new outfits will be ordered from uniform designer Fred J. Miller, Inc. of Miamisburg.
Grosklos added that band members will be able to lease the new uniforms instead of having to purchase them as in the past.
He said a 50 percent deposit is due when the uniforms are ordered later this month, and the balance will be due on delivery in August.
Chris Lisk noted that the band boosters are also planning several end-of-the-year fundraisers to help pay other band expenses, including a Wendy’s Day April 28 during which a portion of receipts from food sales at the two local Wendy’s restaurants will help support the band.
And a Sweet Jazz Concert featuring music by the concert band and a variety of special desserts is scheduled at 7 p.m. May 5 in the MHS cafeteria.