Music department tradition back in full swing

Wyandotte music department set to host annual band sweetheart dance


Emily MacIntyre

In their matching attire, seniors Haley Christian and Peter Rameriez stroll down the field anxious to hear the results.

The RHS music department is tentatively set to hold their annual Band Sweetheart dance on December 4, despite the struggles of missing the event for the 2020-2021 school year.
“We’re still waiting for exact permission and clearance to do the dance, but it is a smaller number of people so we think we’re gonna be okay,” instrumental music teacher Mark D’Angelo said.
According to D’Angelo, students in the music department are allowed to attend the dance and are typically given one ticket for a guest of their choosing. Along with the dance, music students are able to participate in their own version of spirit week called “Band Sweet Week” which is typically held at a home football game after Homecoming.
“This year Tri-M voted on the days that the students suggested, then I took the vote results and organized them by highest votes for the days of sweet week,” Wyandotte Marching Chiefs drum major Brooke Mickel said.
Tri-M is an American high school and middle school honor society, students must be in a music class for at least one semester and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
Similar to the homecoming spirit jug, the music department holds its own competition, amongst sections, with the winning section this year being high brass. The victorious section each year gets to sign a trash can with their year and section.
“The tradition was handed to me when I got here. They say it started sometime around 1992,” D’Angelo said.
Each year through a voting process like homecoming court, senior band members are selected to be a part of the sweetheart court. Usually consisting of three boys and three girls, depending on the number of seniors each year.
“They are chosen by their peers, similar to homecoming… all of the instrumental music seniors band and orchestra are on a ballot,” D’Angelo said. “The members of the ensembles vote, and then the following week during band sweet week they vote for the final advance”.
This year on the court were seniors Haley Christan, Alana Jones, Brooke Mickel, Ian Fappas, Peter Rameriez, and Keelan Ruffner. Afterward, at the final home football game of the season, Ruffner and Mickel were crowned King Cutie and Band Sweetheart by previous winners Luke Schleuning and Jadyn Schroder.
“It was very exciting, and that moment in which my name was called went by so fast,” Ruffner said. “I was still processing that I won even when the crown was set onto my head.”
While the moment was very fast-paced and full of emotions, Mickel mentioned how she would never forget her shining moment.
“I honestly froze, I couldn’t believe it was my name being called. I was trying to take in just being on court,” Mickel said. “But having my name being called for Band Sweetheart was totally unexpected but an experience I will never forget.”
Band Sweetheart has been a tradition in the music department for decades, dating all the way back to 1953. The band director before D’Angelo, Kenneth Hauer, started band sweetheart as a way to build unity within the music department.
“It is a way to allow other people in school a chance to kind of recognize who the band members are,” D’Angelo said. “And it’s our department tradition, we’ve been doing it now for 68 years.”