Band improves, so leader is shorn

Students trickled into Monday's 10 a.m. band class, but something was different.

Chuck Dewees, Carson High School's band leader, was quickly collecting sheet music from the prior class and preparing for the incoming students.

Several students glanced at Dewees and smirked and a couple nudged friends and gestured to their band director. A few shouted out a smart comments they couldn't resist.

It was a brave call in the name of improvement, especially given a cold front moving into the region, but Dewees kept his word and was sporting a bristly salt and pepper crew cut in place of several inches of hair, which he shaved off.

The deal, struck with Carson High School's 100-member marching band, was simple: If the students improved their scores at band competitions, he would shave his head.

The scores improved and off came Dewees' hair.

"I had an agreement with them, if they accomplished certain things. Well they did, so I cut my hair," he said.

Linda Marantette, parent of a band member, was official cutter. At a little after 9:30 a.m. Monday, she clipped his hair while Dewees sat on an elevated box before the students.

"I was supposed to just bring the clippers in, but I think I was the only one he trusted," Marantette said. "I'm no hairdresser, but I have cut my son's hair. I cut off well over an inch."

Like several of the students, Marantette said that the cropped look suited Dewees.

"They (the band) made you shave your head off. They should have shaved off more," said 15-year-old Michelle Grover, as she came in for the 10 a.m. class.

Dewees is familiar with hair loss in his quest for improvement.

As Clark High School's band leader in Las Vegas, he shaved his moustache for the same reason.

"But I haven't grown it back, yet," he said.

A serious mission is underlying the jaunty behavior.

The school's marching band has improved since Dewees arrived in mid-August. The long-term goal is that Carson High School be invited to nationwide competitions, including the Rose Parade and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"There has been lots of improvement -more dedication and better discipline - and we're basically laying the groundwork for bigger and better things," he said. "But in order to be invited to those sorts of things, you have to show improvement in Nevada, the West, then nationwide."

Dewees said he is considering regrowing his moustache as a bargaining chip for a future challenge.

"I think my next goal is to improve the concert band," he said.


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