Mike Grabeel

Name: Mike Grabeel
Class of: 1982
Instrument Played in IHS Band: Drums/Percussion
Most Memorable Moments in the IHS Tiger Band:


  • Taking on a snare drum solo titled “Graduation Etude” by M. Goldenberg. Tom Gusewelle and I worked on it together. It had numerous time changes throughout with complex rhythm patterns. On the morning of the Solo & Ensemble competition, Tom took another look at one of the time changes, and got a sinking feeling when he realized we were playing it totally wrong. So he came over my house and I agreed that we had been playing it wrong. So we did a crash course and figured it out. Our performance time was in the afternoon, so not only did we have time to practice it; we also had a chance to see the posted results for the day. Almost NOBODY was getting a ’1′ on their solos, and Tom figured we might as well just cash out and go home. As we pondered it in Tom’s car, I said–”F*** it”, let’s go in there and do it!” We did, and as the legend goes, we BOTH got a ’1′ on it!!
  • The traditional IHS band guys Canoe trip…how can I forget ‘Deliverance part II’. That Spring break, 8 of us (Me, Tom Gusewelle, Ed Terrill, Grant Wood, David Mayes, Blake Windham, Randy Hestand and Brent Holladay) canoed the Buffalo River in Arkansas. We took no pics on that trip that I know of, so all I have are the vague memories. I remember it rained so hard that water got into me and Toms toilet paper container, so we had to sacrifice the forum pages of a Penthouse magazine. I remember something about Everclear (Everbeer) too. All I can say is…What happened on the Buffalo River, STAYS on the Buffalo River. LOL!
  • The entire band trip to Padre Island that year was a memorable moment!


  • Making the All-Region Band on Timpani. I kicked ass on the tryout music, but what I remember most of all is how hard the sight reading was and how shocked I was that I played it well enough make the Region band.
  • Scoring a ‘1’ on a snare drum solo titled “Gladstone Cadets” at All-State Solo & Ensemble. It was a very busy drum piece loaded with every rudiment in the book. Like the previous year, I noticed almost NOBODY was getting a ‘1’ on solos. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t get a ‘1’, I took the snare drum solo lightning fast! I nailed that sucker at twice the speed of sound. Still, I was worried that it might have been a bad thing playing it too fast, but never the less, I scored a ‘1’. It was a euphoric trip back to Irving from UT.


  • Made 1st Chair section leader in Marching Band and the ‘A’ Band.
  • Played drumset in the IHS Jazz band and having a drum battle on stage with drumming legend Louie Bellson that same night on February 3, 1982. It was a rare once in a lifetime opportunity for me to play alongside one of the greatest drummers in history.
  • Playing Timpani on ‘Sketches on a Tudor Psalm’ for one of our contest pieces that year and scoring straight ones!
Go to Top