Mr. Geoffrey Brouhard - Interim Director of Bands
Revised June 2013
The Rochester High School Bands are located at Rochester High School in the Rochester Community Schools, Michigan. The instrumental music program includes over two hundred students in: two concert bands, marching band, pep band, pit orchestra, and class guitar. They are part of the Rochester High School Music Department which also includes: the Rochester High School Choirs--under the direction of Mrs. Jolene Plotzke, music theory, and music appreciation.
The core of the Bands is the three concert ensembles: Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, and Concert Band. Students are placed in the appropriate ensemble based on skill and experience. Students are graded based on playing tests, in-class work, and required concert attendance. Each is a full-year course.
The Concert Band is mostly 9th graders. It generally performs music from the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) High School Class D and C. The Symphony Band contains all grades, but the majority of students are in 10th or 11th. It generally performs music from the MSBOA High School Class B and A. The Wind Ensemble contains all grades but the majority of students are in 11th or 12th. It is the most advanced group at RHS. It generally performs music from the MSBOA High School Class AA.
In addition, members of the three bands combine to form Chamber Ensembles. These ensembles have included: chamber woodwinds, chamber brass, percussion ensemble, flute choir, clarinet choir, saxophone choir, trumpet choir, harmonie ensemble, and other instrumentations.
The bands typically perform seven concerts per year. The first concert is part of the Rochester High School Music department’s annual Collage Concert in October which includes the bands and choirs. The second is an all-bands Winter Concert in December. The third is for the Concert Band and is usually a Combined Concert with another ensemble from the school district in February. The fourth concert is the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band’s Pre-Festival Concert in preparation for MSBOA Band & Orchestra Festival. The fifth concert is the Chamber Ensemble Concert which is preparation for MSBOA State Solo & Ensemble Festival. The sixth concert is the Rochester Community School’s All-City Band Concert and includes one band from each of the four middle schools and each of the three high schools in the district. The seventh concert is an all-bands Spring Concert in May that includes a performance by the student soloist competition’s concerto winner.
Past winners include:
2013 – Michaella DeRubeis, trombone
2012 – Filip Starostka, trumpet
2011 – Aleks Starostka, alto saxophone
2010 – Lauren Blanchard, clarinet
2009 – Kelly McBride, oboe
2009 – Christopher Shannon, clarinet
2008 – Rachel Edwards, oboe
2007 – Catherine Parsons, oboe
2006 – Joshua Tye, clarinet
2005 – Megan DeRubeis, French Horn
2004 – Nicholas Gasperoni, trombone
2003 – Mark Davies, piano
In addition, members of the three bands perform as soloists and in small ensembles. Most students in the program actively prepare and perform for the MSBOA District 16 and State Solo & Ensemble Festivals. Students have typically entered over 100 events where over 90% earn a medal (top two ratings) at the district level and over 75% qualify for the state level. Many students have earned state-wide recognition including Michigan Youth Arts Festival Band, Orchestra, small ensemble, chamber ensembles, or Soloist, and MSBOA All-State Band nominations.
Falcon Marching Band
The Falcon Marching Band is a 0-hour class that meets for the first semester only. It participates in home football games, away football games at Rochester Adams and Stoney Creek High Schools, numerous parades and community events including America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, Rochester Art & Apples Festival, the Rochester OPC Seniors Day, and MSBOA Marching Band Festival. The band is typically between 100 and 200 members and contains all grades. First-year marching band members must be concurrently or previously enrolled in one of the three concert ensembles for the full year. Most students participate in both a concert ensemble and marching band. It rehearses 4 days per week from 6:20am-7:20 (it’s just one of those things we love to do!), and from 6pm-9 on Monday evenings. The marching season typically runs from Band Camp in early August through the end of football season, plus a few holiday parades in December.
The Band has participated in Detroit’s America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 8 times, and performed at Detroit Lions Football games 5 times. It has performed in the Rochester Christmas Parade every year since 1953, the Art & Apples Festival since 1987, the Sarnia Parade of Lights since 1993, and Cedar Point since 1987.
The Rochester High School Fight Song is taken from the Introduction and Trio of the Karl L. King march called March of the Huntress which was originally composed in 1916 for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. No other high school is known to use this selection for its fight song!
The Rochester High School Alma Mater is believed to have been composed by Ward Reid, Band Director at Rochester High School from 1945-1957. The words were written by a committee of faculty members and students.
The RHS Fanfare, which is heard at Pregame, was composed in 1991 by Robert Kroll, Director of Bands at West Middle School and Former Assistant Director of the Falcon Marching Band. Mr. Kroll modeled this after the fanfares used by major universities, and used melodic fragments from both the Fight Song and the Alma Mater.
The RHS Drum Cadence is the street beat performed by the Drumline during parades. The major part of the Cadence, called “The Falcon Series”, was originally composed by Dr. William Wiedrich, Director of Bands and Orchestras at the University of South Florida. Dr. Wiedrich at the time was the President of the MSU Spartan Marching Band and Percussion Section Leader. Then-director Steve Baker asked him to write a “Series” of cadences, which were first used by the FMB in 1979. Additional student-composed sections were added over the years including “The ON’s (for “Organized Noise”), “Friday Night Strut”, and “Goober’s Drum Thing”.
Rochester Symphonic Winds
The Rochester Symphonic Winds is an optional ensemble that is formed every other year for a concert tour to a faraway location. Instrumentation is based on preference given to juniors, seniors, and Wind Ensemble members, but students from all grades and ensembles are eligible to travel and perform based on instrumentation needs and ability. Previous tours include: Chicago, Toronto, Washington, D.C., Boston, Great Britain, New Orleans, San Francisco, Cleveland, San Antonio, and New York City.
The Pep Band is an optional ensemble that performs at winter sports and community events. Students are very spirited volunteers. Instrumentation includes all marching band instruments plus drum set, bass, and keyboards. It typically meets from December to March.
The Pit Orchestra is an optional ensemble that performs for the Rochester High school annual Fall Musical. Students participate based on skill, experience. Instrumentation is based on the particular production, but is typically for full symphony orchestra plus drum set, guitar, and synthesizer.
The last few shows include:
- Little Shop of Horrors (2007)
- Pirates of Penzance (2008)
- Urinetown (2009)
- Hairspray (2010)
- Annie Get Your Gun (2011)
- Legally Blonde (2012)