On Oct. 29, Mead High School’s Unified Percussion Ensemble, or UPE, will have the chance to take the field for a one-of-a-kind halftime performance.
In 2019, Mead High School began the UPE as part of its unified sports program. The class provides the opportunity for students with special needs to be part of the band. Working alongside them are band student mentors under the direction of Chad Lemons, director of bands at Mead High School.
Lemons set a goal each year to provide a performance-based experience for UPE members in front of a large audience.
Second-year performer and Mead High School student Lindsay Zanini participated in UPE because she loves music and it gives her more opportunities to spend time with her friends.This year’s performance holds a special excitement for her.
“I’m excited because this will be my first time on a football field,” she said.
The new experiences don’t stop there as this year, UPE will team up with Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band, or GuFa, to showcase the many musical celebrations across the school community, according to a SVVSD news release.
GuFa is a high-energy funk band with the New Orleans-style of brass instruments.
For the halftime show, GuFa will play one song alone, one with UPE and one with both UPE and the Mead High School marching band.
Speaking for GuFa is Zach Brake who is a musician in the band and serves as its manager.
“One of our missions as musicians and as a local band is to partner with schools and support public education,” Brake said. “All of us care about supporting young musicians of all varieties and getting them excited about music and their own ability to perform.”
Several of the members of GuFa are also teachers.
“Beyond our dedication to keeping the UPE a performance-based ensemble, we are really excited to be collaborating with our community and a local band that has been building a ton of momentum in Colorado,” said Lemons. “We are creating opportunities for our students to play with professional musicians and share the spotlight and stage with them. As we continue to grow these programs, I believe St. Vrain Valley Schools will set a new standard of inclusivity in our schools”
The halftime performance is estimated to start around 7:40 p.m. on Oct. 29 at the football stadium at Mead High School — 12750 Co Road 7, Longmont. The band performances will be preceded by performances by the cheer and dance teams.
“We are excited to partner with and elevate the voices and musicianship of the Mead Band and Unified Percussion Ensemble. As a group we add to each other. We also hope the students love this opportunity to collaborate with professional musicians and that the community enjoys the performance. We think they will,” Brake said.