Monday, November 4, 2013
Marching Bands Are Worth Watching!
Back when I was in high school, I played clarinet and was in the marching band for 4 years. We practiced many hours before and during football season. Our band patterned itself with routines and songs from Michigan State and The University of Michigan. Whenever there was a game from these colleges on TV, we wanted to see the bands. However, as we soon found out, we were lucky to even see a glimpse of the halftime show. Of course, you see the band with brief shots of the stands and you can hear the music during the GAME, but this is not the same as seeing the halftime show. It became clear that television networks have to get the commercials in sometime and the band was not important enough.
I don’t know if people ever think about the work involved in putting on these shows, but it’s just as much work as being on the football team.
Practice (at least for when I was in High School) started in the late summer with a sort of boot camp. We went to band camp for one week, and it was like being in the army, except with instruments. Students practiced on and off the field all day, even after dinner. There were squad leader meetings at 10 p.m. We went to bed at 11 and got up at 6 a.m. (I hated the chaperon that week who would pound on the door!) At the end of the week, we put on a show at Michigan State along with several other bands. Each band wanted to be the best. It was a battle of the bands thing going on, and we came in third place.
Being in marching band involves playing in all kinds of weather with frozen hands at games. One time we marched in a Memorial Day parade where it happened to be 90 degrees. Our uniforms were made up of black coats and pants. Several students ended up passing out. I ended up with heat exhaustion and was sick for the rest of the day.
I didn’t pursue band of any kind after high school because it was clear that there was just no long term purpose. Yet, writing is that way too and here I am. At least I can do that from the comfort of my living room.
The video below I happened to notice on TV and I found it. I hope you enjoy it. This is the Ohio State Band doing some amazing patterns. Just think about all the work and talent involved. Marching Bands are worth watching. If only people could make room in their lives for arts as well as sports.