About "der" Group

Das Oompapas formed in 2019 out of a love of the food, music, and drink centered around Oktoberfest. Each member of the group comes from a deep musical background and brings their own special sauce to the band.

Not your typical Oom-pa-pah band

The band has a diverse repertoire of standard Bavarian marches and polkas but mixes their own versions of modern songs with a determined polka flair. Its members are all classically trained musicians and educators who bring a their talents and special touch to the performance.

During their concerts listeners can hear traditional songs such as "The Beer Barrel Polka," "The Chicken Dance," "The Pennsylvania Polka." Standard marches such as "The Hofbräuhaus Song," "Waldeslust." Not to mention more contemporary hits such as "Sweet Child of Mine," "Bad Guy," and "Seven Nation Army."

And what festival would be complete without traditional drinking songs?

John Ballard (clarinet)

John is a versatile clarinetist and middle school band director.  He currently resides in Black Mountain with his two cute children, Henry and Mae.

Michael Myers (soprano saxophone)

Michael has been performing for over 30 years in groups as diverse as Lenoir Sax, Western Piedmont Symphony, Blue Ridge Orchestra, The Temptations, The Nelson Riddle Orchestra, and has performed with and can be heard alongside many great artists. He is also an arranger and composer whose work can be heard at the Kennedy Center, online, in video games, and in commercial work.

Tony Sane (trombone)

Tony is an avid musician as both a vocalist and instrumentalist, performing a variety of genres in numerous ensembles across the Southeast - including the Charlotte Symphony, Spartanburg Festival Chorus, and the Asheville Synphony Chorus. He currently lives in Charleston, SC where he serves as the Director of Music Ministries at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Chris Wilson (tuba)

Chris is the band director at East McDowell Middle School. He has played and directed in many ensembles that have featured a variety of genres including The Foothills Community Band.

Patrick Young (tenor saxophone)

Patrick is the retired band and chorus teacher from McDowell High School. He has performed regionally for over 30 years with groups such as Lenoir Sax, The Temptations, Ed Shaughnessy, Chris Vadala, Asheville Jazz Orchestra, and The Asheville Gentlemen.

Jamie Walker (drums)

Jamie currently serves as assistant principal at West McDowell Middle School. He directed middle school band for 17 years before pursuing school administration. He has toured the country as a drummer/percussionist and is currently serving as interim choir director at Calvary Baptist Church in Rutherfordton, NC.