Have you ever thought about the depth of preparation that goes into a high school marching band’s halftime show?
To be honest, before this season, I just enjoyed the music and admired the often Busby Berkeley-esque choreography without giving much consideration to the effort involved.
High school marching bands and pep bands define “multitasking” and epitomize growth and maturity in creativity, responsibility, dedication and even bravery.
For this reason, ThisWeek has been showcasing the efforts put into their performances by sharing bands’ bios, photos and videos on a section called Friday Night Live Halftime Show at ThisWeekNEWS.com/Bands.
We began posting a few band pages Aug. 30, providing short descriptions of each band, as well as many photos and videos. As the season marches on, we’ll post new band pages and more photos and videos as the bands send them to us.
I should note that although almost every band in central Ohio has been invited, we’re still awaiting content from some and responses from others. We’ll continue accepting submissions through Sept. 28, so we encourage band directors to be prompt.
Meanwhile, scroll through each band’s page and check out what they’re doing this season.
Maybe reminisce – or at least remember some early experience.
I’m sure you can recall the excitement of bringing home a recorder in elementary school and learning to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Isn’t it funny, though, that most of us don’t recall the novelty diminishing? It just wasn’t our thing. (Translated: Practice interfered with fun.)
Now think of the seemingly overwhelming labor high school bandleaders and members put into every facet of their craft. I’ll bullet-point just a few:
• First, prospective musicians eventually figure out which instrument they should play, and then they learn how to play it well. It takes hours upon hours of practice, and becoming metronomically sound is no easy feat.
• Band directors must take inventory of their musicians and determine which songs could be played and how marches might work, given the types of instruments and the number and skill level of their members. They must keep in mind song lengths and the time constraints of halftime. Oh, and they must plan for a coed band camp for dozens – sometimes hundreds – of teenagers.
• Directors teach and members learn the songs, practicing them over and over, honing specific areas of each number and tightening every verse and chorus to precision.
• The march comes next, and each song brings its own. The choreography and rhythm must be in sync, and to be able to pull it off with heavy uniforms and tall hats is nothing short of extraordinary.
• When the band puts it all together for one incredible display of multitasking, it’s simply amazing. They’re playing instruments, marching to specific spots at a precise time, performing before hundreds of people and avoiding the reverb of other instruments that echo across the field. And it’s all part of a theme.
Keep in mind: They also have the stresses of teen life – classes, relationships and social media, to name a few.
I also don’t want to neglect mentioning boosters’ efforts, fundraising, competitions and travel. The behind-the-scenes work is worthy of high praise.
Give these facts some thought as you enjoy our section dedicated to high school bands, and the next time you attend a high school football game, take a few minutes to enjoy the halftime show.
The hot dog can wait.
Scott Hummel is ThisWeek’s assistant managing editor, digital. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.