Members of the Mount Desert Island High School pep band play at a recent football game. For Friday’s championship game, the band will include alumni and community volunteers. PHOTO COURTESY OF BARRY GUTRADT

‘Pep’ band spirit comes to rescue

BAR HARBOR — It’s a nice problem to have.

On Friday evening, Mount Desert Island High School will host both the opening night performance of the drama department’s fall musical, “Tarzan,” and the Northern Maine Championship football game. Both begin at 7 p.m.

Almost all of the pep band’s section leaders and upper classmen are involved in the musical or pit orchestra, music teacher Michael Remy said. So he put out the call for volunteer musicians to play with the band at Friday’s game.

MDI High alumni and friends, players from the Bar Harbor Town Band and other community members have ridden to the rescue.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive community support,” Remy said. “It’s really cool how musical and how involved the community is. All these people come out of the woodwork … with their horns!”

Remy is asking volunteer musicians to register on the MDIHS Music website so he has an idea of what to expect Friday. As of Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen musicians had signed up.

The pep band plans a brief rehearsal at 5:30 p.m. in the music room. Sheet music also is available on the music website or can be emailed to volunteer players.

The presence of alumni and adults in the music program, he said, helps highlight for students that music is a lifelong pursuit. Relatively few of his students pursue music in college or as a career, but many continue to play and sing as adults.

Football Coach Mark Shields said the pep band and cheering squad play a very important role in the program.

“There’s a lot of tradition around the band in MDI athletics,” he said. “It’s a big part of what we do. I know the band gets the kids really excited to play.”

The team makes their entrance onto the field to “Jesus Christ Superstar,” breaking through a butcher paper sign held by cheerleaders.

“You hear that, and you know it’s MDI,” Shields said.

Remy said he loves seeing the camaraderie between the band and the football team in the halls. “One of my favorite parts about our pep band is that it’s pretty wildly popular throughout the school. I have football players regularly high-fiving me and band members in the hall. I have athletes in my classes. There’s nothing but support and appreciation, and that’s pretty cool.”

The band is set to play other favorites, including the school’s fight song, “Sweet Caroline,” “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Carry on My Wayward Son.” Also on the list, Remy said, are “Piece of the Rock,” “Brick House,” “Cold Hearted,” “El Cucumbero,” “Hey Song,” “I’ve Got the Music in Me,” “Jock Jams,” “Jump,” “Lady Marmalade,” “Land of 1,000 dances,” “Soul Bossa Nova,” “Word Up,” “Gold on the Ceiling,” “I Want You Back” and “All the Lights.”

Tarzan performances continue into next weekend, so if the football team advances to the state finals, the pep band also will need help then.


School officials have instituted a plan for handling parking for the MDI High fall musical “Tarzan” as well as the football game on Friday. Both events are set to begin at 7 p.m. Workers will help direct people to the correct lots.

General parking for the game will not be allowed until 5 p.m. Players, event staff, media and sports boosters are asked to arrive by 4:45 p.m. Once the main lot is filled, spectator vehicles will be directed to the upper field parking lot. Game tickets will be sold as cars enter.

“Tarzan” event parking begins in the front lot by the gym beginning at 5:30 p.m. Theater doors open at 6 p.m.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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