With the school year winding down and summer vacation around the corner, students around the country are cramming for final exams. Instead of pouring over Shakespeare or trigonometric identities, however, graduating senior Trevor Shepich was boning up on his Phish in order to arrange a performance of “Fuego” with his high school orchestra.
Shepich is no ordinary high schooler. Back in May 2021, Billy Strings pulled the teenager onstage during a run of pod concerts in Louisville, KY. Billy became aware of Shepich through the youngster’s guitar videos and noticed him out in the crowd during nights one and two. At the third show, Strings invited Shepich to the stage to sit in on Phish’s “Back on the Train” and the Grateful Dead‘s “Bird Song”.
Fast forward two years and the director of the Perry High School band Andrew Barnhart asked Shepich to arrange a piece for the ensemble’s final concert. Despite the fact he had never arranged music for a full band before, Shepich jumped at the opportunity and used the chance to pay tribute to his favorite group.
“About six weeks before my final school band concert ever, my director approached me about potentially writing a piece to showcase what I plan on doing in college before I graduate,” Shepich wrote on social media. “I decided there would be no better way to go about this than arranging one of my favorite songs, Fuego, by my favorite band, Phish, for my school’s concert band to perform.
“Although this project isn’t perfect (I had no concept of how difficult the piece would be for my band when writing as I had never composed for concert band before), it’s important for me to share this if only as a milestone in my musical career,” he continued.
Check out Trevor Shepich’s orchestra arrangement of “Fuego” by Phish below. The guitarist, who plans to attend Western Michigan University in the fall, even snuck a bit of the klezmer from “Scent of a Mule” into his adaptation.
Perry High School Concert Band, Trevor Shepich – “Fuego” (Phish)[H/T JamBase]