Every Phish fan knows that feeling of excitement when you’re out seeing some band, and they decide to cover a song by Vermont’s finest. Well, imagine going to your kid’s high school band recital and they start playing “You Enjoy Myself”. That’s what happened at the Naugatuck High School Percussion ensemble’s Winter Showcase last month, where the Connecticut high school played their program, aptly titled A Live One.
The performance begins with the familiar opening notes of “YEM”, as the 20-some-odd high school students move through the introduction by mimicking Trey Anastasio‘s guitar notes on around a dozen xylophones. The ensemble does an impressive job of recreating the familiar sounds of the four instruments through only percussive means, including marimbas, cymbals, snares, timpani, chimes, and many more non-stringed instruments. The song takes its familiar build but, just before the scream, seamlessly segues into the outro of “Squirming Coil”, where Page McConnell customarily takes his iconic piano solo.
Watch the Naugatuck High School Percussion Ensemble perform their A Live One program, featuring “You Enjoy Myself” and “Squirming Coil” by Phish.
Naugatuck High School Percussion Ensemble – “You Enjoy Myself” > “Squirming Coil” – 2/29/20
Parents and fans across the internet have band director Don Binette to thank for the program selection. Binette has been an avid Phish fan since seeing his first show in 1996, his junior year of high school when he performed in the very same ensemble he now leads. Back in high school, he recalled playing the music of Chuck Mangione at band recitals, “Was I a big fan of that when I was playing it? Maybe not necessarily but I now have an appreciation of who Chuck Mangione is,” Binette told the local Connecticut Post.
Binette is well aware that most of his students have probably never listened to Phish until they started this program, and many of them will never listen again. That in itself, however, is the aim of what he is trying to accomplish through basing the program around the prominent jam band, well that and his own enjoyment. Just like his experience with Mangione, Binette’s ultimate goal is to widen the perspective of his students so that they can be more musically well-rounded, “They’re exposed to something they probably wouldn’t have been from anyone else.”
Unfortunately, the Naugatuck Percussion Ensemble’s performances have also been affected by the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Visit the band’s Facebook page for updates on their rescheduled performances and any future Phish-inspired programming.
[H/T CT Post]