Dryden Schools’ band to perform at April 8 Tigers game


DRYDEN — Though they won’t have baseball bats in their hands, members of the Dryden Jr./Sr. High School band hope to hit a home run next weekend.

Students in both the junior and senior high school bands will pick up their instruments and knock one out of the park as they perform the National Anthem at the Detroit Tigers Opening Weekend game on Saturday, April 8. The performance will begin just after 4 p.m.

Dryden Schools’ Band Director John Klee directs students through the National Anthem at Little Caesars Arena in December.

Band Director John Klee says the students are psyched about the opportunity to take the field, and are looking forward to another opportunity to showcase their hard-earned skills.

“They’re super excited and just a little bit nervous because it’s opening weekend and a big crowd,” he says. “Still, their confidence has grown as we’ve grown from a small band to much larger than where we were and they’re grateful for such a cool opportunity.”

This isn’t the first cool opportunity for band students, Klee adds. Last December, they played the National Anthem at Little Caesars Arena and did quite well.

“Now that they have that under their belt, they’re feeling pretty good about playing at Comerica Park,” Klee says.

The opportunity came about when a Detroit Tigers representative reached out to Dryden Community Schools at the beginning of the school year with an invitation.

“They asked if we were interested in playing at a game, and if so to send a recording,” Klee says. “They listen to all of the submissions and then select bands to perform and we were selected.”

Klee says the selections are based on merit alone, and the students worked hard to create a high quality recording.

“The hard work paid off and we’re thankful to be chosen,” he says. “I’m a huge baseball nerd so I’m ecstatic that we’re going to a game.”

Once selected, band members were tasked with selling at least 100 tickets to the game, which happened within a few days, Klee says.

“It is so cool to see the community support us. They’ve had to add additional tickets twice as family members and community members bought tickets to support band students.

“We’re a small community with a small school district and we’ll be getting recognition in a very public theater to perform and get our name out there,” Klee says.

Band members will make their way to Detroit via carpooling, and will take the field around 4:10 p.m.

Klee, in his first year teaching music and band at Dryden Schools, says he is enthusiastic about sharing his love of music with youths.

“Growing up, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do, and I got involved in a band,” he says. “It was through band that I grew the most as a person, more than any other class or sport. Band taught me who I am and helped me grow in certain ways.”

He says involvement in band helped him build strength of character, make friends, learn the value of teamwork and simply have fun.

“You don’t get the same bonds in an English or math class. Band is really more of a family atmosphere, and I wouldn’t be who I am without it.”

When Klee came on board, there were just five students in the band. That number has grown to 17 high school and six junior high school students involved.

They recently received an excellent rating at the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association District 3 competition in North Branch.

“There has been so much growth this year and it’s been very rewarding,” Klee says.