Hakuna Fermata


Callista Micco, Staff Writer

“Wait, we were supposed to have that memorized?!”


Mohawk’s band has been phenomenal entertainment for years, but who really knows what goes on behind the scenes except the band kids themselves? Well, here we get to know the band a little better. The band director, Mr. Zeh, has been participating in the world of band since 2000, when, as his sister played the flute, his parents told him he would join the band and he chose the trumpet. He was greatly influenced by his private trumpet teacher, a great band director still in the area, and decided to continue with music and band as his career. He teaches and listens to music, but he much prefers playing himself, which is demonstrated by the way he will often join the band as they play in class, whether it be to illustrate a point he is trying to teach or just because he wants to. He has been teaching competitive marching band since 2000, currently working with two competitive marching bands that compete at a national level. He has been the director of the Mohawk band, both concert and marching, since the 2014-2015 school year. He was first hired at Mohawk teaching 4th through 6th grade band and later got the chance to take on more with 7th through 12th grade as well. “I love it,” Zeh says. Outside of Mohawk, he is a former member of the Slippery Rock University marching band staff, having worked with them for four years, and has been working with the Slippery Rock Winter Guard for the last five years. He is also an active competitive marching band and color guard judge in Western Pennsylvania. He plays every instrument, but his favorite is the trumpet, as every band kid knows very well. When new band students choose their own instruments, Zeh takes into account the personal opinion of the student on what instrument they would like to play, but then he also considers the makeup of the student’s mouth and how they perform through different tests he gives them when they’re first trying out instruments. In order to actually be a part of the senior high marching band, a student must be in the period 8 band class, or they can participate by being a majorette or joining the danceline. The big question, of course, is just what kind of work goes into band. “There’s a lot of preparation for marching band,” says Zeh. “Everything is meticulously designed for increased crowd participation and at the same time overall effect. On the musical side, I pick music that is quality music for students, meaning that it challenges them in the right ways but also is music that they can get into and appreciate.” As for concert band, there is just as much preparation for each concert. Zeh says,“I choose music that will expand the range and musical abilities of the performers in a concert band setting.” To keep order, or as much order as can be kept with a large band full of diversity in both instruments and personalities, Zeh keeps a lot of lists: a list of five year goals, a list of three year goals, and a list of one year goals, specifically. He also keeps a detailed personal calendar and does his absolute best to quickly pass on information he receives. Now, with all this information, when it comes to band, there is still one thing everyone has an opinion on: Is marching band a sport? “Absolutely!” Zeh says. “During marching band season we rehearse about 150 hours through summer rehearsals, including one intense week of band camp, and after school rehearsals. We’re here at the school working a lot. We do things that are physical and put challenges on our bodies and our minds. I think it’s entirely a sport, just as much as the other hardworking athletic programs are.” Band is an intense program full of enthusiastic individuals, and it’s always looking for new members. Hakuna fermata, friends: it means keep playing for the rest of your days!