Perry bands playing under a new baton

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Rachel Poss is the new band director at Perry High School. Formerly at Des Moines Lincoln, she began her new duties Jan. 2. Photo submitted.


The postponement of Friday’s basketball game between Ballard and host Perry meant more than the first rescheduling of the winter season. It also meant a delay in the first public performance of the Perry band under the leadership of their new director, Rachel Poss.

Fans will now have to wait for Tuesday’s home games against Boone to see and hear Poss in action as she directs the Perry pep band.

A University of South Dakota grad, Poss attended high school at Sibley-Ocheydan. She has most recently served, for three years, as band director and fifth grade band instructor, at Des Moines Lincoln.

Sibley-Ocheydan has a 2019-2020 BEDS number (total of students in grades 10-12) of 183 and is 177th in Iowa. Perry is 67th at 428 while DM Lincoln, in contrast, is the third-largest school in the state at 1,783. The size differential definitely played in Poss’ decision to apply for the Perry position.

“I like the smaller towns,” she admitted. “It is in my roots, I guess. I have nothing against Lincoln and loved my time there and the kids I worked with, but even after three years I would have other teachers come up to me and ask if I was new.”

“Perry, for me, is the perfect size,” Poss added. “It is large enough to offer real possibilities in what the band can do, while not being so big you don’t build relationships with your students.”

In addition to her duties leading all aspects of the high school band, Poss will continue her duties in offering lessons for the fifth grade, a task she will share with middle school band director Lisa Christensen.

Poss said one of her chief goals will be growing the size of the marching band.

“We are a third the size we should be, at least, and I will be working hard to grow those numbers,” she said. “There are many factors involved, but I think we can get the numbers back up again.”

“Everything is in place to have a really successful marching band,” Poss said. “We have new uniforms, newer instruments and more. And the marching band is really visible — it is often the face of the music program to much of the public.”

Poss, who began her duties Jan. 2, said her primary goal can be summed up in a word: fun.

“Music must be fun,” she said. “If it becomes a chore students will lose interest. I hope all of our students have fun and grow in their skill.”

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