DHS Marching Band off to fast start under new director Elizabeth Dandeneau

Marching band wins two competitions so far


Jen Donovan

DHS Marching Band, led by Drum Majors Matthew Henry and Luke Lefflbine (far right), perform at halftime during the Homecoming game (Oct. 4).

Viktoria Wulff-Andersen, Co Editor-In-Chief

The DHS Marching Band came in first place at their Class 1 Competition in Newtown on Saturday, Oct. 7, beating New Fairfield High School. The victory is the second this season and marks a remarkable pleasure in the wake of the recent change in director.

Ted Adams, the previous band teacher and marching band director, left last school year for a job at Pembroke Elementary School. He has since been supplanted by Elizabeth Dandeneau, who previously taught orchestra and band at Westside Middle School Academy. Dandeneau has taken over Adams’s courses – including Symphonic Band Honors and Concert Band Honors – and most notably his marching band programs.

Dandeneau’s new direction has increased her students’ confidence. “We were all really worried when all of the talented seniors left from last year,” said Senior Drum Major Luke Lefflbine. “Yet, her positive teachings have allowed us to rise to the occasion with more than just talent, but confidence.”

“I love the new energy she brings. She’s really setting us up for success,” explained Junior marching band member Morgan Albano. Dandeneau focuses on “quality over quantity” when setting up rehearsals, and rather than scheduling rehearsals five days a week,  opts to create more in-depth rehearsals on a less consistent rate, as Albano claims.

Dandeneau believes that “with every new teacher comes a new style of teaching.” During the second week of band camp this summer, she consulted the students on what their goals were for this season, which was to feel successful. Dandeneau actively seeks to have open-communication in her classroom. She wants all of her students to “like coming into her classroom and actively engaging.”

“She’s still the teacher I know and love. She’s a music kid at heart, just like all of us. She makes us all feel respected,” Junior Gregory Fanning said. Fanning had Dandeneau for Orchestra from sixth to eighth grade at Westside Middle School Academy. He now currently has her as his marching band director.

A short term goal rapidly approaching for the band is the annual Marching Band Jamboree on Nov. 2nd, organized for the first time by Dandeneau this year. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” Dandenau claimed. The jamboree hosts both the home showcase of the DHS Marching Band and other local band performances. DHS students and staff are encouraged to participate.

The overall goal for the marching band this year is to advance further in the statewide marching band competition than they have in years past. “I think we now have the tools, ability, and attitude to succeed,” Albano said.

With the DHS Marching Band on a fast track to a successful season, marching band member Jason Alfidi (senior) said it best: “Rebuilding a band with a whole new teacher is hard and the fact that we’ve rebuilt is a significant feat.”