About Us

Desert Vista High School is a 5A senior high school serving the South East Valley area in the Tempe Union High School District. The Band Program participates in the AMEA North-Central region and includes many diverse groups, such as Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Percussion Ensembles, Marching Band, Jazz Bands, Steel Drum Bands, Winter Drumline, Fall Guard, and Winter Guard.

DV Band is supported by the Desert Vista Band Boosters, a non-profit organization of volunteers who lend their time and talents, not only to raise funds, but also for supporting tasks such as equipment transportation, uniform alteration, photo and video production, meal provisions for game days, etc.

Band Staff


Mr. Josh Thye

Director of Bands

Josh Thye, an alumni of Desert Vista (class of 1999), completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona in 2003, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. He also holds a Masters degree of Administration through the University of Phoenix and a Master of Instrumental Conducting through the American Band College of Sam Houston State University. Mr. Thye joined the music faculty at DV as Director of Bands in 2003. He served as the DV Fine Arts Department Chair 2008-2014. In May 2017, Mr. Thye was named as a Quarter Finalist for the 2017 Music Educator Grammy Award.  Out of more than 3,300 initial nominations received from all 50 states, less than 10% of the initial nominees (290 music teachers from 264 cities in 41 states) were selected as Quarter Finalists.


Mr. Vicente Lopez

Director of Percussion
Front Ensemble Instructor

Vicente Lopez earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Percussion Performance from the University of Arizona. Mr. Lopez earned his teaching certificate in Texas, and has most recently been the Director of Percussion for Bel Air High School in El Paso, TX. A Tucson native, Vicente is a former Director of the University of Arizona Drumline, and has also served as a judge for AZPAS festivals and regional band auditions. He has worked with Dark Sky Percussion, Pueblo, CDO, Rincon/University, Empire, Cienega, Sabino, and Mountain View High Schools. In 2001-2003, he marched The Academy on the same Drumline as Mr. Morales.


Mr. Michael Krill

Assistant Director of Bands
Music Caption Head / Woodwind Caption Head

Michael Krill directs the Jazz Program at Desert Vista High School and co-directs the Marching Band. Mr. Krill has been arranging the brass and woodwind music for DV Marching Band since 2005. He is also the director of the Akimel A-al Middle School Bands since the 2000-2001 school year. Mr. Krill is an active performer in the Phoenix Metro area. Performing experiences include Broadway show orchestras, and free-lance work with local jazz and salsa bands. Mr. Krill currently performs regularly with DH4 (The Dave Henning Quartet), The MCC Red Mountain Big Band and The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.


Mr. Jordan Nelson

Brass Caption Head


Mr. Keith Casey

Guard Caption Head


Mr. Casey Ehrler

Visual Caption Head / Brass Instructor


Mr. Chris Evans

Battery Caption Head


Mr. Ben Henderson

Visual Instruction & Design


Mr. Mark Richardson

Brass Instructor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1 Band Program

Do all band students participate in Marching Band?

No, participation in Marching Band is voluntary. Any student enrolled in a band class may audition for a playing position. Any student may audition for a Color Guard position.

Is there an Honors track in the Band Program?

Yes.  Honors and Non-Honors students will be co-enrolled in the same class.  Students in the Honors option must complete additional requirements.  The Honors distinction does not factor in to chair placements or solo selections.  It is merely for the attainment of class-rank points.

How can I keep up to date about band activities?


Are the Performing Ensemble concerts free?

Generally, yes, most concerts are free.  The Winter Concert in December and Pops Concert in May have ongoing traditions of selling tickets and using the funds for the general Band Program.

What is the etiquette for band concerts?

For concerts, we ask that you silence your cell phones, PDAs, etc, and refrain from using flash photography during the performance.  Due to copyright restrictions, video and audio recording of performances is not permitted.

It is expected that all band members stay for the whole concert and do not leave after their group has finished.  Concert performance and attendance are part of the class grade.  Parents and other audience members are also encouraged to stay for the entire concert as each ensemble appreciates an audience. Please enter and exit the auditorium only during the applause breaks.

It is customary and considered good concert manners not to applaud between movements or sections of a piece, but rather to hold your appreciation until the completion of the entire artistic work.  The end of a piece is signaled by the conductor, who will lower his or her hands and usually turns to acknowledge the audience and take a bow for the entire ensemble.  In jazz, it is customary to applaud each soloist after she/he has finished soloing, even while the rest of the tune is going on.  Your cue to applaud is when a soloist sits down or a different soloist starts playing.

Are there extra-curricular ensembles?

Yes!  When Marching season ends in November, there are several extra-curricular ensembles.  Your student can chose to participate in Jazz Band, Winter Drumline and Winter Guard (must also have participated in Marching Color Guard).

Marching Band (Fall) and Steel Band (Spring) are now offered as a for credit, zero hour class.

Can any DV student play in an extra-curricular ensemble?

Yes, extra-curricular ensembles are open to all students.  Each of the extra-curricular ensembles have their own auditions.
Auditions are usually held before the winter break and will determine which of the bands in an extra-curricular ensemble a student will play.

* Jazz Band season runs from November until May.
* Winter Drumline season runs from February through April.

Can any DV student join Winter Guard?

Guard is open to all students.  However, to participate in Winter Guard, the student must also have participated in Marching Guard the previous Fall.
Winter Guard shows are performed in a gymnasium on a tarp, using recorded music.  The season runs from late November to late March.

What is AYB?

AYB is the Ahwatukee Youth Band.  Formed in 2010, it provides an opportunity for local 7th and 8th grade musicians, recommended by their Middle School music teacher, to play alongside and be mentored by DV upperclass band members.  AYB has practice sessions in February, and concludes with a concert performance at Desert Vista at the end of February.

My question isn’t covered in this FAQ list – what should I do?

You can email Desert Vista Band Boosters at

2 Marching Band

Do all band students participate in Marching Band?

No, participation in Marching Band is voluntary. Any student enrolled in a band class may audition for a playing position. Any student may audition for a Color Guard position.

Can any DV student be in Marching Band?

Yes, however, students must be enrolled in a band class at Desert Vista to play an instrument in the Marching Band, and go through an audition to be accepted into the program.  Color Guard students, important members of the Marching Band, do not have to be enrolled in a band class to participate, but are encouraged to enroll in a dance class at Desert Vista.

Does Marching Band qualify for school credit?

Yes.  As of Fall 2016, Marching Band is a one semester (0.5 credit) class, MUS300. Also, students who complete three years of Marching Band (Color Guard included) will fulfill their high school requirement of 1 credit of PE.

What is the time commitment required for Marching Band?

Summer practice starts with sessions once or twice a week (depending on section), beginning about a week after the school year ends.  Attendance is expected if the student is in town.

There is a break of about 2 weeks at the end of June / beginning of July.

Pre-camp is 3 days in mid July, followed by 1 week away at band camp, followed by 3 days of Post-camp (when timing with the start of school permits). Attendance at these camp sessions is mandatory.

During the Marching Band season (Aug-Nov), there are 3 weekly all-band morning practices, 1 weekly all-band evening practice, and 1 weekly sectional after school practice.  For new members, there is an additional 1 weekly morning practice. There are also a few mandatory All-Day Saturday practices that will be scheduled as needed.

Football games are (usually) on Friday nights.
Exhibitions and competitions are on several Saturdays and one weeknight throughout the marching season.

Can I miss a practice, football game, exhibition or competition?

You are expected to attend all Marching Band practices and performances.  There are no extra players to fill in your place.  Any absence leaves a hole in the band.

What do I wear to practice?

Wear a mostly white t-shirt, athletic shorts, socks and walking/running shoes to practice.  No flip flops!  You cannot learn proper marching technique with the wrong footwear.  A hat and sunglasses are strongly recommended.  On cooler mornings, wear a black, dark blue or grey sweatshirt.  After morning practice, you will have time to change into your school clothes.

Color Guard should wear black for evening practices.

What is a section?

A “section” is a component of the Concert or Marching Band and consists of a group of similar instruments.

What is the Battery/Drumline?

The Drumline, or Battery, consists of marching members of the percussion section and includes snare drums, tenor drums and bass drums.  

What is the Pit?

The Pit, or Front Ensemble, consists of non-marching members of the percussion section, including timpani, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, bells, electronic instruments and auxiliary percussion.  It is often located at the front of the field.

What is Team Pit / Roadies?

Team Pit, or Roadies, consists of volunteer booster parents.  They are responsible for loading all the equipment on the trucks and trailers, unloading at the performance site, getting the equipment on the field and set up, then removing the equipment expeditiously so as not to be in violation of any time rules set by the judging body, loading it back on to the vehicles and unloading it at the school.

What is the Color Guard?

The Color Guard, aka Auxiliary, are an important part of the Marching Show.  They provide “color” to the overall effect of the show by closely choreographed interpretative dance routines that match the drill design.  The Color Guard utilizes flags, rifles, sabers and other props to enhance the overall show and make it even more visually appealing.

What are Drum Majors?

The Drum Major conducts the band, providing the appropriate beat at exactly the right time.  Students may try out to be Drum Major at the end of the school year.

What are Section Leaders?

One or more people from each section (depending on section size) are chosen by the band director through an application process to be student leaders for their section.  They are usually upperclassmen who apply toward the end of their Sophomore/Junior year to be Section Leaders the following year.

Can a student participate in athletics and Marching Band?

Yes, but it is recommended that they do not do both at the same time.  If a student is a member of the Marching Band, it is recommended that this becomes their “Fall activity” and they chose not to participate in another Fall sport.

However, if a student is passionate about being in an athletic program and Marching Band during the Fall season, it is advisable that this is discussed with the Band Director and the Coach prior to the start of summer practices for either activity. They will be able to participate in athletics during any other season.

Does Marching Band involve students to the exclusion of other school activities?

No.  We have students that are involved in all aspects of student organizations, clubs, and sports.  Students do have to learn to manage their time wisely to be involved in several school activities, but it can be done and has been done successfully for many years.

Do students taking honors/advanced placement (AP)/ dual enrollment (DE) classes have time for Marching Band?

Yes!  Many band students take honors, AP or DE classes.  The band is well represented in the National Honor Society, Student Government and other academic and leadership organizations.

Should I see how high school is and join Marching Band next year?

No!  You don’t want to miss being a part of the Desert Vista Thunder Band.  You only get four years.  What could be better than starting high school with 150 friends to support you through your first year?  And you’ll always have a lunch buddy.

Do I need to provide my own instrument for Marching Band?

All wind and brass instrument players are encouraged to rent a marching instrument.  You don’t want to put a fine concert instrument through the wear and tear marching entails. The band program has a limited number of instruments that can be rented for the school year for a nominal cost.
Percussion instruments are provided by Desert Vista. A nominal rental fee covers repairs, mallets and sticks for percussion instruments.

Which wind instruments are able to march?

The alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bari saxophone, clarinet, piccolo, mellophone (french horn), baritone (trombone), trumpet, and sousaphone (tuba).

Is there any hazing in the Band Program?

No. There is a strict rule of no hazing at any time in the Desert Vista Band Program.

My question isn’t covered in this FAQ list – what should I do?

You can email Desert Vista Band Boosters at

3 Band Boosters

Who is a Band Booster?

You are automatically a Band Booster if your child participates in any of the Desert Vista band programs.  Parents of current and alumni band students make up the boosters.  Parents of all band members (not just Marching Band) are highly encouraged to participate on one of the committees.

What do Band Boosters do?

Boosters volunteer throughout the year in many capacities to support the entire band program at Desert Vista.  See

We have a table set up to sell shirts and other booster merchandise at the north gate of home football games.  You can also order online at DV Band Shop, or fill in the Team Shop Order Form and mail the form to DVBB, 3145 E Chandler Blvd, Suite 110, Box 606, Phoenix, AZ 85048. Payments can be made by check payable to DVBB or online with PayPal.

What is Team Pit?

Team Pit consists of volunteer booster parents.  They are responsible for loading all the equipment on the buses and trailers, unloading at the performance site, getting the equipment on the field and set up, then removing the equipment expeditiously so as not to be in violation of any time rules set by the judging body, loading it back on to the vehicles and unloading it at the school.

When does the band play at football games?

The Thunder Band performs the half-time show when at home, and the pre-game show when away.  If the other team doesn’t bring their band, then our band may perform both pre-game and half-time shows.
During the game, the band will play tunes in the stands.

Do parents need to pay to get into the football games?

Yes.  For adults, this is $5 for home games.  Student prices are less (with ID), and away games differ depending on school.  Volunteers working at the game (Team Pit, Water Crew, Table Sales, Concessions, Bus Chaperones, etc.) do not pay the entrance fee unless the rules of the school we are at differ.

Can we chat with or bring a snack for our student in the stands during football games?

We respectfully ask that you refrain from talking to the Band during the football games, as it can cause the band members to lose focus.  Band members already know this rule, and we ask you to honor it as well.
Food is prohibited while the Band is in uniform, unless provided by the designated Booster parents.

Where do I find my student after football games?

Band members are required to stay through the entire football game.  After the game, they then march in parade formation to the band room (home games) or buses (away games).  Once at the band room, students change out of and check in their uniforms, have a short meeting with the Band Director for post performance discussion and announcements, then are released by the Band Director for the evening.  Parents are kindly asked to wait outside the band room to collect their student.  If you are providing the ride home, please allow time for all of this to happen.

What is the etiquette for football games?

For HOME games, sit in the HOME stands (east side). The Marching Band takes up the entire section under the Thunder Band sign.  Boosters generally sit in the section north (left) of the Thunder Band sign.  For AWAY games, we sit on the AWAY side (visitors), in the section left (facing the stands) of the band.

Boosters always stand when the DV Band comes onto the field and during their performance.  We also stand for the opposing school’s band performance to show respect for their hard work and dedication.

What is the etiquette for Marching Band competitions?

Spectators are asked to be respectful of all competitors while in the stands and to not talk while any band is performing.  Spectators are expected to wait until the performing band has completed its show before leaving their seat or entering the stands to find a seat.  This shows respect to the performers and minimizes distractions to both the performers and those watching in the stands.  Applause is welcomed at any significant moment in the show and of course at the end of the routine.  This applies to all bands that perform.  The band members like to hear the applause and welcome it as a motivator.

Wear your DV Band shirt and join other DV supporters in the stands.  A block of friendly DV blue lets the band know we are there supporting them.  There is no need to brag, but instead be humble and be polite when talking around or with parents from other programs.  Finally, remember that like the students, when we are in any DV attire, we are representatives of the band program, the school and the district.

How can I share my photos or video of a DV Thunder Band event?

To share your photos or video, upload it to a new folder in your Google Drive and Share the folder with, or contact the Photo Committee Chair if you do not have a Google account.
Thunder Band photos and video are kept private, that is, available only on our website, on a password protected page.
This is a competitive activity, and we respectfully ask that you do not post video (or video links) of a performance to any other site (facebook, website, etc).

Should I follow you on Social Media?

Twitter and Facebook are just one way to get announcements of upcoming events, or a quick recap of an event.  There is no requirement to follow us on Twitter or Facebook. The Thunder Band website is your primary source for information. All information will be posted on the Thunder Band website, and may also be sent via email. If there is ever conflicting information, The Calendar on the web site should be considered correct.

My question isn’t covered in this FAQ list – what should I do?

You can email Desert Vista Band Boosters at

4 Fundraising

Why do we Fundraise?

Fundraising for the band is needed to keep the band fees low, help to repair and replace equipment/uniforms, pay for additional band staff & coaches, pay for additional transportation expenses, cover the “wish list” items needed for the band program, provide funds for unexpected expenses, supplement various trip or fee expenses and allow for growth in the band.

What is considered Fundraising?

Fundraising includes any money or material collected from sales or donations, that help support the band program, and is not provided thru fees, school or district allocations.

If I volunteer to help the band, do I have to cover all the expenses? How do I handle any monies collected or spent?

No. A volunteer is not expected to cover any expenses on behalf of the band out of their own pocket! Depending on the activity or event that you are helping with or organizing for the Band Boosters, you should have a budget. The budget should have projections of expenditures and proceeds. You should receive approval for the budget from the Booster Executive Board prior to starting on the project.

Forms for approvals, money to be reimbursed or deposited, etc. can be found on the Thunder Band web site, under the Parents tab.

What is the band program “Wish List”?

This is a list of items (updated periodically) that are needed by the band program. The list comes from input from the band director as well as the booster club as a whole.

What is a “band sponsor” and how can I learn more about it?

Band sponsors are businesses or individuals who donate money to support the band for a school year. For businesses, sponsorship includes different forms of advertising, such as ads in the football program and all band programs, logos on the band trailer, A-Frames and banners, and more!
The family sponsorship is slightly different.
To learn more about the current sponsorship program, see the Sponsorships section on the Committee Files web page.

Does the money earned thru Fundraising benefit all band students and all bands?

Yes.  Unless a Fundraising activity is advertised differently (for example, specifically for a trip, or money for individual band accounts) all funds raised are used to benefit the band program as a whole.

Does all of the money earned thru Fundraising go into the general Band Booster account?

No.  Some Fundraising activities may earn credit for the band at outside store accounts (such as Music & Arts), or individual band students accounts (tax credits).

How can my student raise money for their individual band account?
  • Tax Credit donations – the # 1 best way for students to add money to their account!
  • Employer Matching Donations – many companies will match donations of money and/or volunteer hours. Check with your HR Department to see if your employer matches donations.
  • Special fundraising opportunities – announced as they become available.
How are the Fundraising activities selected?

The activities selected for Fundraising are made up of traditional events (Holiday Fundraisers), band hosted events that include a Fundraising aspect (TITH), and new activities that are brought to the committee for approval. Some of the considerations are: level of difficulty, cost, volunteer involvement needed, community involvement, social interaction, level of enjoyment, & variety.

My question isn’t covered in this FAQ list – what should I do?

You can email Desert Vista Band Boosters at

5 Not so FAQ - but good to know

When are the Band Booster meetings?

Band Booster meetings are held periodically throughout the year.  A minimum of  three meetings are held, one in the fall, one in the spring, and one towards the end of the school year.  More may be held when information needs to be shared.  All meetings will be posted on the band’s on-line Calendar.

Where can I find the minutes from the Band Booster or Executive Board Meetings?

Band Booster Meeting Minutes are posted on the Thunder Band website, on the Parents tab here.  

Executive Board Meeting Minutes are not posted on a public domain due to sensitive issues that may be discussed.

Who can be a Band Booster Committee Chairman?

Chairs are filled by volunteers.  If multiple volunteers step forward for a position, or if there are no volunteers for a position, the Executive Board is responsible for selecting someone to fill the position.

What rules govern the Band Boosters?

The DV Band Boosters are part of a 501(c)3 organization known as Desert Vista Thunder Board Association.  As such, we have some specific requirements that relate to this type of tax exempt organization.  
Two primary documents govern DVBB and the other DV Booster Clubs:
1) Thunder Board By-laws, and
2) Thunder Board Policies and Procedures.
These and other files can be found at the Thunder Board Home Page.

The Band Booster Club has its own governing documents that are supplements to the Thunder Board documents. You can find the Band Booster Club documents on the Parents page.

Where can I find the current financials for the Band Boosters 501(c)3?

You can see them on our website here. These are password protected. Please contact Web Admin for the password.

My child is on medication.  How is that handled during the times my child is away from home?

There is always a First Aid person assigned to all events, including band camp and the California trip.  The First Aider must be notified in writing by the parent what the student is taking and if the student is self-administering.  Other (not self administrating) over the counter, prescription or controlled substance medication will be kept in control by the First Aider.  All students must have a current Consent for Emergency Care form completed, signed and notarized to be able to travel.  This is a school requirement.

How are marching uniforms handled?

Marching uniforms (shako, bibber and jacket) are provided by the band program and assigned to each student at the beginning of the marching season.  They stay at Desert Vista when not in use.  Additional items (shoes, socks, show shirt, shorts, gloves, collar liner) are needed to complete the uniform (some of these items are included with the marching band fees and others are an additional purchase) and should be transported between home and school by the student with appropriate regular laundering. Additional details are provided in the Marching Band Handbook.

Parent volunteers are needed before and after each performance where the uniform is worn to assist students and help ensure that individual appearance is consistent across all band members.  To preserve the uniforms, eating or drinking (except water) while in uniform is forbidden unless provided by designated band booster parents.

How does my student travel with the Marching Band to and from games, shows and competitions?

To perform in the marching show, the band member must travel with the band to and from the event.  Buses (with boosters – as chaperones and a “first-aider” – additional booster volunteer opportunities!) are provided by the school.  
After football games, shows, and competitions, the staff review the performance with the band members.  

If the rare situation arises where a student cannot travel with the band, this must be discussed with the Director and a Travel Waiver Form must be completed and returned to the Director (preferably 24 hours in advance).  This is a school requirement.

Is there a Banquet at the end of the year?

Yes.  Generally, it is held the second Saturday in May. 

All band students, parents and guests are invited and required to RSVP.  

Parents and guests must  purchase a TICKET, but the band students are complimentary (free).  
The TICKET includes admission to the banquet and dinner.  
There is also a raffle and silent auction in which you may participate.

During the program, ALL students from every band program and extra-curricular group are recognized and certain awards are given.  Additionally, special awards are announced and handed out.  Extra emphasis and recognition is given to the graduating seniors.

My question isn’t covered in this FAQ list – what should I do?

You can email Desert Vista Band Boosters at