Band begins recruitment for upcoming season

The Perry High School band program awaits new students every year to aid in developing the music scene.

To move this process along and guarantee enrollment, band director Brandon Kiesgen visits junior high schools during registration season to recruit future members.

Kiesgen and current Perry band members have now been visiting Payne and Santan for years since they are the main junior high schools that make up a majority of freshmen at Perry. Recruitment may expand to other schools in the future if enough students are there.

Junior high directors also help in expanding the band community, so “as the band director at a junior high school that feeds students to Perry High School, it is my job to support high school band and help recruit students,” Payne Junior High band director, Deanna Bessette, said.

When students in junior high band are visited by Kiesgen, it helps to have current Perry band members share their experiences; it is beneficial to have information come from students instead of solely authority figures.

Junior percussionist Eddie Virtgaym said, “we talked about what the band program does and what it means to be a percussionist in the program specifically, and also how it changed us as people and players.”

Michael Hancock, Santan Junior High band director, appreciates Perry student’s positivity. “The Perry students do a great job of easing the eighth graders’ minds about the transition into high school band,” Hancock said.

The fact that Kiesgen visits these schools right before junior high students register for high school may mean the difference between continuing in music education or quitting it completely. Students successfully recruited do remember the impact it had.

“I’m glad that he did that because that helped me decide Perry over other schools, and yeah the band program, it did meet up to what Mr. Kiesgen was saying,” junior trumpet player Justin Kang continues, “colleges look at how well-rounded a student is, and being able to put band in your application is an asset.”

Another branch of the recruitment strategy comes from junior high night hosted by the marching band during the football season. Students from Payne and Santan junior high are invited to join the marching band for dinner and play during halftime at one of the varsity football games.

Most that decide to continue in band will agree that it provides a variety of benefits.

“Being in a high school band program can enrich so many aspects of a student’s life. It develops leaders, teaches cooperation, fosters teamwork, challenges the mind and body, and surrounds each member with awesome and hard-working kids,” Hancock said.