Spotlight on the Grafton High School Marching Band

Grafton High School opened in 1996, and the band director, Darren Kirsch, has been a part of it since the beginning. Grafton’s band has been looked at as being one of the best public school bands in the area within the last two decades, and the ball is not done rolling yet.

This year’s marching band show is based on the concept of “Flight”. Langely and NASA are celebrating their 100th anniversary, and since many citizens living in York County are employed by these entities, the Grafton band staff thought it would be an appropriate theme.

The melodies throughout this year’s show includes snippets of the “Apollo 13” soundtrack, “To Tame the Perilous Skies” by David Holesinger which was commissioned for Langely Air Force Base’s 564th Tactical Air Command Band, songs from the movie “How To Train Your Dragon,” and selections from Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”

Putting together a marching show from scratch every year is not easy, and Kirsch recognizes that it really takes a village to do it successfully. The other staff members at Grafton High and Middle School contribute immensely to the effort. Also, the hard work of the band students themselves and their parents keep the marching band running smoothly.

One of the challenges Grafton High’s marching band faces is teaching the new freshmen how to march and play their music at the same time. It is important for freshmen to realize that in a show, they carry the same weight as a seasoned senior in the formation they are making on the field. Everyone is an equal pinpoint in the picture the band creates while performing.

Kirsch’s favorite part about being the band director of the Grafton High band is to see the students grow and mature both in their musicality and their personality. Improving one’s skills in band is all about goal setting, teamwork, and a lot of practice. These are life lessons that the students nurture through participating in band.

The marching band season starts this fall; so do not forget to go see the Grafton High marching band perform “Flight” at a football game or a competition!


Published by the Yorktown Crier on May 25, 2017


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