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by A.J. Lamb, student intern

Warner’s music department has been growing under the leadership of band director Michael Yopp.

The largest band in the NAIA has 72 members, and Yopp said that he thinks Warner will have over 50 after this year, and he can see Warner’s band growing to 90-100 in the future.

Yopp’s high hopes are grounded in the fact that Warner’s band is gaining recognition. Last year, Warner’s indoor ensemble placed 5th in the World Guard International World Finals in Dayton, Ohio, where they faced off against teams from all over the world.

The team’s goal this year is to earn a gold, silver, or bronze medal with their Tarzan theme complete with jungle costumes including gorilla suits.

Yopp has a long history in music. Growing up in Tennessee, Yopp said that his Dad would stop him and his brother from fighting each other by having them sing with him.

“It’s hard to be a person of evil when you’re playing good music,” Yopp said.

Yopp also played basketball in high school, and he says that athletics go hand-in-hand with band and fostering a competitive mindset. He has even been called “coach” by the members of his band.

Yopp played as a professional trumpet player in Memphis for many years, performing jazz at various gigs.

Teaching, however, provides Yopp the opportunity to help others.

“I can now impact people and create permanent growth in others,” Yopp said. “I don’t want to see people bury their talents. I want to see them grow.”

“You show me someone who can play passionately, and I will show you someone who has a soul.”

Before coming to Warner, Yopp was the band director at Webber International University. At a Warner/Webber basketball game four years ago, a fight unfortunately broke out between fans and Webber’s band was caught in the middle of it.

Yopp suffered a head injury, and during his recovery, he said that he received more letters from Warner students apologizing for what had happened than he received from his own school.

Yopp also knew Dr. Darr from when he was a music professor, and so through that relationship he came to Warner, and has doubled the size of Warner’s band over the last three years.

Instructing Warner’s marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, and indoor ensemble, as well as teaching music classes keeps Yopp busy, but he loves his work and enjoys joining in with the pep band at sporting events with his trumpet.

Yopp’s daughter, Megan, is a Junior at Warner and plays the trumpet in the band just like her father, and his other daughter, Allison, plays trombone and plans to come to Warner as well.