Marist High School’s band welcomed alum Kevin Sheehan ’91 back to campus this month. Sheehan has been a member of the renowned Glenn Miller Orchestra since 1997.
Sheehan (Tinley Park), who is typically on the road forty-eight weeks of the year, generously shared some his time at home with members of the current school band. The group performed for him on the stadium field, and afterwards, Sheehan shared information about his education, career in music, and words of wisdom with the students.
After graduating from Marist, where he was a four-year member of the school band and president of the group his senior year, Sheehan attended Northern Illinois University graduating with a degree in jazz performance. After free-lance performing for a while, he took what was supposed to be a three month job with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. That was in 1997, and since then he’s been the lead alto saxophonist for the famed band that started in 1956 and averages 300 live shows per year.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra is known for its big band sound, and plays historical theatres, corporate events, weddings, and clinics all over the world. Sheehan said he has performed on 2,000 cruise ships and in all 50 states. His band tours Japan every year. He estimates he travels 150,000 miles per year.
Sheehan pointed out that many schools no longer offer music or arts programs, and reminded the Marist students how lucky they are to have such a group. He was also impressed that they no longer have to march across a muddy football field, and instead, now have a turf surface for practice and performances. Being back on campus brought back fond memories for Sheehan, who recalled band trips, including one to Epcot Center in Florida, along with camp outs at school.
Sheehan said that Frank Manna, who was the first band director at Marist, demanded one hundred percent from the musicians, but it inspired in him a great dedication that has parlayed itself into an exciting career, which also included a three month stint touring with Phil Collins.
Current Marist band director Andrew Creagh ’04 told the students that if they wanted to mimic Sheehan’s success, “You have to work now to have a future in music.”
During the school year, the Marist band performs at a variety of athletic games, dozens of special events, parades, and Christmas and spring concerts. They also travel each spring to exciting destinations including college bowl games, Disney World, and New York City.