Joey and Chelle Leyva are noted for their work at Southern Utah State College.
The couple, who married last October, are in their second year as dual drum majors for the Scarlet and Black, a ceremonial band that is gaining in popularity, particularly at Scottish festivals.Band members wear authentic bear skin bonnets, identical to those of the Coldstream Guard, the queen of England's guard. Except for the fact that it has one less button and the buttons are placed in sets of three instead of a solid row, the SUSC band uniform is identical to that of the British group.
The band is composed of 48 members plus pipes and drums.
"We try to be a little elite with the Scarlet and Black," Joey says. "Actually we have grown a little, partly because of the appeal of being a band member and partly to add a better balance to the music."
The SUSC band, which is a mixture of traditional and bagpipe bands, receives more invitations to perform than it can accept. Invitations to Scottish festivals this year have come from Santa Rosa, Calif.; Estes Park, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Albuquerque, N.M. The band also has been invited to perform at festivities preceding this year's Kentucky Derby. Last year the band was asked to play on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland.
"We simply can't afford to perform at all the fun places to which we are invited. We are always well received, especially at Scottish celebrations. I think it's because we perform authentic Scottish music in a very classy manner. We often bring tears to the eyes of people with a Scottish heritage," Chelle noted.
Since almost no high schools teach students how to play the bagpipe, SUSC typically trains its own pipers. The most recently trained bagpipers out of high school are Donald and Deann Smith, also a married couple, of Payson.
Chelle said, "If possible we'd both like to complete master's degrees in music and then begin teaching careers. It would be ideal if we could teach at the same school. We complement each other; my strength is instrumental music, and Joey's is vocal music."