The De La Salle High School marching band performed on the stairs of the East Entrance outside of Joe Louis Arena prior to Monday's game against the Edmonton Oilers. (Photo by Craig Peterson/Detroit Red Wings)
DETROIT — There was an influx of Danny DeKeyser fans at Joe Louis Arena for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, as Warren (Mich.) De La Salle High School — DeKeyser’s alma mater — sent its marching band to perform for fans on the stairs of the east entrance.
The event was part of a school fundraiser, offering tickets at a discounted rate with all proceeds benefitting the De La Salle music program. With members of the DLS school community in attendance, the marching band entertained fans for about an hour prior to puck drop.
“We’re very thrilled to be asked to be a part of the festivities tonight,” said Mike Szczegielniak, music director at De La Salle. “And have a great showing for our music program, our school and Pilot nation as a whole.”
All proceeds from the music program’s ticket sales will go towards repairing old instruments, purchasing new ones and upgrading facilities. The exposure goes a long way in terms of helping students have the best possible experience.
Coincidentally, the event just so happened to be on the same night as DeKeyser’s bobblehead night, where the first 7,500 fans in attendance received a bobblehead of the 25-year-old. While Szczegielniak did not have the Red Wings defenseman in class, he did say the DLS alum is still talked about in the hallways.
“He’s very well thought of,” Szczegielniak said. “Very devoted kid. He was very into hockey obviously, back then, he’s very well thought of, spoken highly of, he’s come by a few times and given back to the community.”
A member of the DLS class of 2008, DeKeyser's number of supporters increased in the building thanks to the school fundraiser. The Joe is just 20 miles from his former high school in suburban Warren.
With an enrollment of about 800 students, the all-boys Catholic school sold more than 250 tickets with members of the Pilots community well represented in purple and gold.
Szczegielniak said the performance was a special chance for the program to perform for fans and expand its outreach as well as show support for DeKeyser. He continued by saying this school year has been particularly unique in that the group has now performed at two different Detroit sports venues.
“We got to play at Ford Field this year because our football team went to the state championships and won,” Szczegielniak said. “So this is the first time I’ve been to Ford Field and to play at Joe Louis in the same year. This is completely unique in everything I’ve done. This is so cool.”