The Merriman Park Elementary Pops Band is a musical group made up of – quite literally – “pops.”
The band formed last year when a few musically talented Merriman Park fathers got together to play at the school’s Multicultural Night open house. They were such a hit that they have stayed together for additional performances, including a recent school fund-raiser party and auction where they not only provided entertainment but were “auctioned off” to the highest bidder for a private performance.
Although the band now includes two moms as vocalists, the instrumentalists are all dads. Band member David Brooks, an attorney, says the group plays mostly rock ‘n roll from the ’50s through the ’70s, “with a little ’80s, blues and country thrown in for variety.” According to Brooks, the band has a repetoire of about 40 songs.
In addition to their musical versatility, the Pops Band also boasts several “looks” that they vary according to the venue, from tuxes with tennis shoes (the formal look) to Western wear.
The Pops Band currently consists of two vocalists and seven instrumentalists playing drums, keyboard, guitar, saxophone, clarinet and trumpet. In addition, they recently added a smaller dinner combo that features a cellist, a drummer, two keyboardists and a professional vocalist. Members are David Brooks, Bill Bogart, Jan Frederiksen, Dwight Henneberger, Jeff Jones, Steve Page, Rick Reynolds, Max Tucker, David Wood, Nancy Bogart, Kathie Tollack, Scott Huneryager and Rick Knapp.
Vocalist David Wood worked his way through college playing in bands.
“From the age of 12 until after college, I played in bands both in Fort Worth, where I went to high school, and in Austin, where I attended the University of Texas.”
Since 1980, Wood has taught English at Lake Highlands High School. In addition to his work with the Pops Band, he has appeared with LHHS track coach Buzz Andrews and basketball coach Jimmy Roe, playing and singing at the school’s Senior Show.
Attorney, contractor, dentist, accountant, teacher – although the group is diverse, band members have in common their desire to support their neighborhood elementary and their love of performing.
Says Lydia Tucker, wife of Pops Band keyboard player and violinist Max Tucker: “It’s been a real ‘male bonding’ experience, and it is proof that music is a lifelong skill that can be a true gift from the parent who pays for the lessons and has to listen to the daily practice mistakes.”