Dresden High Band

Dresden Band to Bring Rock and Pop to the Stands
Posted on 08/18/2021
This is the image for the news article titled Dresden Band to Bring Rock and Pop to the StandsOn August 27 at Dresden High School’s first home football game, “a sweeter song than the birds in the trees” will echo through Rotary Field as the first band in almost 20 years makes its debut. The musical selections will be void of brass and woodwinds but heavy on guitar solos and snare drums as the recently launched pop band brings “My Girl” by the Temptations, “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles, “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealer’s Wheel and rock riffs such as “7 Nation Army,” “Back in Black,” and “Lowrider” to the stands.

The force behind the musical interludes is Jacob Abbott, now in his sixth year of teaching music and theater at the high school.

“I caught wind of another school with a pop band and after researching it I thought, ‘we can do that!’” said Abbott after a recent rehearsal. “With 48 minutes every single day, we can get really good, really quick.”

And, by all accounts, they have. A recent posting of “Back in Black” on social media received overwhelming support -- and that was after only four days of practice.

While Abbott would love to bring a traditional marching band option to Dresden, he believes the quality of sound required would need to have its origins at the middle school level. The current scheduling at Dresden Middle School does not allow for the option. A pop band in high school is, therefore, a good way to give students who might not always see the spotlight, a chance to shine.

“I have more come through my classes in one day than are involved in all athletics combined,” he said. “One third of Dresden High School’s student population are in one of my classes, and they deserve to a public showcase.”

This year, Abbott is starting with 12 band members who were invited to be in the inaugural instrumental music class that would populate the pop band. In the future, a prerequisite for the class and the band will be Abbott’s vocal or general music class.

He handpicked these performers from several he deems “super talented kids” who could both play and represent the school.

Representing and being represented are important, says Abbott.

Senior Haley Dick is one such representative. She’s at the keyboards in the band but has been engaged in some form of the arts since arriving at Dresden High including theater, the Weakley County Art Show, and learning piano and guitar in music class last year.

“I became a part of the band for the memories,” she said.” “I love music and get to experience it with a great teacher. Mr. Abbott has taught me a lot. I love his class.”

Dylan Workman, a junior, has been exposed to several family members who have been in bands, playing in churches and at family gatherings, “So I thought I’d try,” he shared.

Playing the bass guitar for the 70’s classic rock numbers, the quiet young man previously known on campus as part of the cross-country team, anticipates that being in a band will help with his social skills since he’ll be performing in front of a crowd.

Even though the band is a class for credit, he views it as a break from some of the other pressures of school.

“I get to do something I like to do – relax and play music,” he acknowledged.

Students chose their instruments from an array of options purchased with grant funding and contributions. To date, approximately $4000 has gone for instruments, amps, mics, and a soon-to-be-purchased generator so they can take the “show on the road” – something that will not be possible this year.

However, plenty of gigs are planned, noted Abbott.

“Between four home football games and countless basketball matchups, I’m working on ensuring the band members nor the audience gets bored,” he said, adding that they will soon have a repertoire of classic rock and current pop.

Ultimately, in what he calls his “master plan,” students will produce and record as well as write their own songs. They will then perform in a school showcase that will include the band, choir, theater group, and individuals from the general music classes.

“We celebrate the talents of those on the fields and courts, and that’s good,” he noted. “But I’m thrilled that we will be giving new opportunities for those not always seen who are equally as skilled, equally as talented.”

band members
Members of the DHS Pop Band include (top, left to right) Tyler Sublett, Abigail Farris, Austin Peevyhouse, (bottom, left to right) Mallory Dean, Hope Petersen, and Gabe Parker.

band members
Members of the DHS Pop Band include (top, left to right) Andrew Boyd, Dylan Workman, Nick Skartsten; (bottom, left to right) Jacob Abbott, Haley Dick, and Keylee Calabrese. Not pictured is Brianna Breeden.

Haley Dick
Senior Haley Dick says she has forged friendships and made memories as part of the arts program at Dresden High School. Having already participated in theater and the visual arts, she is looking forward to what lies ahead as a member of the as yet unnamed pop band.

Dylan Workman 
Dylan Workman finds the instrumental class out of which music teacher Jacob Abbott is forming a band to be a break in his full day of classes and cross-country practice.
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