For the past 32 years, the Maple Valley High School band program has been taken to great heights by its director, Dennis Vanderhoef. Even with all of the success the band program has achieved under his tutelage, Vanderhoef was extremely surprised to be given the honor of serving as Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival Grand Marshal.
“I thought I was being pranked,” Vanderhoef admitted of his initial reaction to the honor. “There are so many people who do so much for this community. It’s a great honor, one I don’t take lightly.”
Gene Fisher, president of the Vermontville Maple Syrup Corporation, said he considers Vanderhoef one of those individuals who have a tremendous impact on the community.
“He has helped bring a lot of recognition to the community over the years through the band’s performances,” Fisher said. “The band is a big part of our festival every year.”
Vanderhoef said the band’s pancake breakfasts served out of the Vermontville Township Fire Department serves as the band’s largest fundraiser of the year.
“The festival is really a great thing for our community,” Vanderhoef said. “It brings thousands of visitors.”
Thousands more across the country have had the opportunity to hear the Maple Valley High School band thanks to Vanderhoef’s leadership. The band was even selected to play the Presidential Inauguration Festival in Washington D. C. when President George W. Bush was inaugurated. Under Vanderhoef’s direction, Maple Valley High School bands have also performed during halftime of the Peach Bowl, were named grand champions during a festival in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and were recognized by the high school hall of fame for a performance in Nashville.