Band marches on minus mentor | HS Sports
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As marching bands across the state prepare for their first competition of the season, students at Marshwood High School have dedicated themselves, and their performances, to a friend and mentor who recently passed away.
Alfred Yesue was the chief judge at the state's high school marching band competitions for the past fifteen years. He also spent the past few years as the assistant director of the Marshwood Hawks Marching Band.
"I think everybody misses him a lot," stated David Graichen, Marshwood's band director. "We hope that we make him proud because he was a huge help and asset to our program, as well as all the other students that he touched throughout the state."
The 65 year old Yesue died unexpectedly this summer. Students he worked with say his instruction and friendship will not soon be forgotten.
"He inspired me and he inspired a lot of the kids in the band," explained Kayla Burke, the marching band's drum major. "It's been a struggle this season to get by without his help, because he helped us out a lot over the past couple of years."
"He meant so much to the marching band," said junior sousaphone player Leighton Magoon. "He really helped solidify the core topics of marching band. He brought us to a level that, I hate to say it, but we probably couldn't have gotten without him."
The students are hard at work mastering their maneuvers and memorizing their music,, but Al Yesue is not far from their thoughts. Some kids have even made t-shirts featuring his name on the sleave as a way to keep him close as they play.
"At that final show, I won't be saying how I think we did, I'll be saying how would Al think that went?" explained Kayla Burke. "What would Al say, and would he be proud."
The first competition in the Maine Band Director's Association marching band schedule is Saturday, September 17 at Lawrence High School. The bands take the field at 6pm.