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Calling all Marching band Alumni/Present Marchers

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Greg Johnsen, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    ok, so just discuss if you loved being in MB, hated it, thought it was ok, etc. Also, state what instrument you played, and if possible some of the pieces.



    Pfft, absolutely love marching band, it let me meet so many more people and most of them are my best friends. I'll be a sophmore next year, and we've seen the score for our opener, and we all made splooies in out pants when we heard it. The piece was "El Toro Caliente" from the Madison Scouts '95 DCI show. Last year we played 3 pieces from Sting that was arranged for us. we played Walking on the moon/every little thing she does is magic, fields of gold, and message in a bottle.

    I can't wait til next year, we're so gonna own when we go down the Florida for the marching competiton, if our colorguard doesn't bring us down again and make us get second :crying:

  2. i was in a small school we decided to do a jazz band as our priority over orchestra and marching i played bass trombone we marched my senior year sort of we marched around the field in silence other than the drum line stopped in a company front and played some swing o yeah the flag people were ther doing some retarded dance over all i wish i had been in a real marching band
  3. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    My directors have been doing a Key Poulan show for as long as anyone can remember. Our head director is leaving next year and we'll have some kick ass music. I'm also going to be assistant drum major. Yeah, I'm a nerd.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I'm sure this will upset some people, so let me say that this post is most negative about marching band... so if that doesn't sit well with you, just move on.

    My involvement with marching band: First parade was in 1963 when I was in 7th grade. I continued in HS and and got a degree in music education (trumpet) and did marching band all through college, and after college after I was finished teaching elementary school, I went back to campus and played for 2 more years in the college marching band. Later I had a job teaching HS and was the asst. marching band director. I've written over 200 musical arrangements for marching band, 3 different bands used them to compete in the Band Of American competition in Indianapolis Ind. In 1999 after 36 years of involvement with marching bands I had had enough. Now I teach Electronic Music with computers and synthesizers.

    Marching band is an incredible waste of time and money, if the goal is to teach music. It does not teach music. Whatever can be learned in marching band can be learned by other activities already in the school, such as athletics and concert band. Marching band is a total distraction for school, students and parents into thinking that something is being done....very little is being done. Parents and administration will approve because there is a 'number' (winning of how many points) connected with the effort the band is putting out.

    In the years I was involved with marching band I saw many good people quit band and do other things with their time. Would any of them have become professional musicians? No. But if we are to believe that music and involvement with music is an important part of education, we have to admit that their school experience would have been greatly enhanced if they had been a part of a better musical experience.

    In the years I was involved with marching band I saw a few students graduate and have great involvement with music in semi-professional environments. Did marching band help them reach that goal? No. A good musician is a good musician regardless of school experience, the good players will find a way, even if school doesn't help them.

    For the money that is spent, and the number of students involved with marching band, most schools could easily have several Jazz bands that were organized either by age, experience or style of music. Or there could be several Rock bands.

    As it stands now, the successful marching band director is NOT necessarily a good musician, rather the teachers that find success as marching band directors are excellent motivators and organizers.

    Does marching band ruin students? No. But it does steal time and money from a situation that could have touch more students in a stronger more complete musical experience.

    I don't expect anyone who is involved with marching band to understand what I'm saying here. Marching Band - and really lots of things in HS, cheerleading, sports - are very close social groups that work to constantlfy reinforce the 'values' that hold them together... pride, hard work, accomplishments. I'm not saying that these are bad things, in fact they are the backbone of a working society. I'm saying that marching band is inefficent time and money wise. It is a sad victory of style over substance.
  5. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    BassChuck-i respect your experience and opinions. I do not agree though, i am coming from a completely different perspective though.

    I am in favor/pro marching band. I "marched" all 4 years of high school.

    I played bass guitar & string bass for our competiton shows and played crash cymbals for the parades/pregame.

    My sister was also in marching band for her 4 years of high school, her senior year she was a drum major & we played a duet. She is graduating on May 13th from Butler w/a music ed degree.

    We both loved marching band. Without it & the other high school bands i would not be in a music conservatory right now.

    The social aspects of it-made high school fun. I made most of my closest friends through it. In middle school i was a kinda mishmash of a few different social groups. Preppy follower that was in orchestra. High school hit-i chose band over sports. I chose being myself over following the preps. I really enjoyed high school band. The friends i made are ones that i have kept thus far.

    Musical elements-i learned a lot about playing music. Playing bass with a 120+ member band behind you is a great feeling.

    Money/time-they were well worth it. I think i spent more on strings each year of high school than i did for marching band fees each year.

    Other marching band stuff.............

    I can't express how much fun it was. I miss most of the high school bands that i was in. In high school-i played for marching band [have great memories-had my hair braided into 2 french braids for a few performances, yes-i am a male], show [pep] band, show choir band, and musicals. Now that i'm in college-we don't have most of those. However, i am playing for a musical, a jazz combo, and a percussion ensemble. I'm also studying bass with 2 amazing teachers. I like how i've managed to separate jazz upright playing from pop electric. My "goal" is to play for musicals and do session work.

    I think socially is where it feels the most weird-went from friends that i knew for 2-8 years to being in a situation where the longest that i've known any one is 4 months. I dig it though.

    SO yeah-the 4 years i was in marching band were 4 of the best years of my life thus far.

    take it easy everyone.
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I played sousaphone, used to stare at butt of the female sax player who marched directly in front of me. I ended up marrying her. 15 years and three kids later, by far the best thing that ever happened to me.
  7. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    Good to know I'm not the only one who stares at the chicks in fron of me.:ninja: I also play sousaphone.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I played tuba/sousaphone. We had a very strict band director (anybody heard of Ben Minor?) who led us to the sweepstakes trophy at the All-Western Band Review in Long Beach, California. We were ostensibly the best military-style marching band in the state.

    I can't say I believe there's a ton of value in doing marching band for twelve years (middle school, high school, college, and more college), but in middle and high school it teaches teamwork and discipline, while still being an enjoyable and rewarding activity. It also is a connection to the various corps of girls, you know, those flag-whipping, gun-twirling hand-clapping types. (Makes those long bus trips downright delectible.)

    I played tuba for 7 years, only one year in college, thanks to those nimrods in Phi Mu Alpha. I think I gained a lot from it, as much in social skills as in musical technique.

    So that other guy is just wrong.
  9. High school, 4 years, trombone. Loved every minute of it, even when I was swearing about being in a multi-layer getup in 90 degree heat. Music that I can recall: "Phantom of the Opera" (BEFORE everyone and their brother were doing it; arrangement knocked up by our director at the time), and this medley of cartoon themes. Always had to be careful of not becoming the "Flying Hamburger" during 'The Jetsons' formation. :D

    On BassChuck's assessment--to some degree I agree. Of the four bands I played in, marching band contributed the least to my musical knowledge--the arrangements were pretty simple, and DEAD LOUD was the preferred volume of play. (Especially the one year when I was the ONLY trombone against a wall of screeching clarinets and howling trumpets). But I give it credit for this: The values of teamwork, dedication, and so on that many people experience through sports need marching band as an alternative outlet--not all of us are athletically inclined, this is a chance to get those things in another venue. I actually played team sports for two years also--and because I wasn't a star athlete, it felt like a waste of time--just did drills and warmed bench. In marching band, I contributed. I did something. And I got back what I put in. Some of my best memories EVER came from those 4 years of buses and gopher-hole-pockmarked football fields and running over rugrats in amusement parks. :p

    So, in short, no, it's not the most MUSICALLY enriching experience--but for the musically inclined, it's still worth having around for the social and character-building aspect. If anyone else's bands are/were like mine, everyone who marched was in at least one other, more musically enriching band, so that aspect got covered along the way anyway. ;)
  10. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I played electric bass (Peavey amp on a cart powered with a car battery) and sousaphone in marching band (did a brief stint on clarinet my freshman year, too.)

    Since the social and musical aspects have already been pointed out, I'll point out another. Marching season was where the band program in general had a chance to show that we were doing something, like winning competitions and showing up as a pep band for the football team, marching in parades, etc. In short, for many school adminstrators, the marching band was the only visible evidence of any music program. Sure, the orchestra did concerts, the jazz ensemble traveled and competed, and we always coughed up a band for school musicals, but administrators didn't show up for those--they saw the marching band at parades and football games.

    What I'm getting at, is that without the marching band, the rest of the music program wouldn't have recieved what little funding it did from the school, even though "marching season" only occured for part of the year. We won competitions, and our director showed these accomplishments on his budget requests regularly. With no marching band, there' wouldn't have been funding for the other bands, such as wind ensemble, orchestra ensemble, and jazz ensemble. Everyone in those other ensembles also marched at the beginning of every school year.

    I'm pretty sure we got prize money from the competitions we won or placed in, and I know we brought sponsorship money to the school through parades and appearances, as well. If we hadn't, the serious musicians wouldn't have had the funding to play in the other ensembles.

    Although I can only speak for my experience at Yuma High School, I'm sure that this tale of marching=funding is repeated elsewhere in the country, as well.

    And boy, did those flag girls keep the long bus rides far from boring ;)
  11. Greg Johnsen

    Greg Johnsen

    May 1, 2005
    Hickory NC
    well I have to partly agree with what you guys said about marching band not being the most musically inclined activity for band, however, last year when I started playing sousa, I had to learn everything in the week we were at camp (5 days in the 100 degree sun with a 50 pound instrument on my shoulder). Marching band made me learn tuba, and now it's my instrument of choice, for the better as well. Sure, I'm in jazz band, wind ensemble, and next year I'll be in the pit orchestra for the musical and the full orchestra as well (playing tuba, not DB). Marching band is a social thing to show our peers and families what we can do with our 3 hour practices twice a week, and seeing that we were pretty amazing last year for only our second year, we're only going to get better this year.

    For those of you who liked the color guard, we're gettin' some hotties this year, but no one last year attracted my attention, and we still have a grudge against them for getting a II, ruining our straight ones and making us lose...

    However, we have some pretty hot girls in band (2 saxaphonists, and a sousa next year) which will be pretty interesting.

    I'm also joining DCA next year, and if that doesn't put me ahead of the pack, I don't know what will.

  12. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    I went to school in a rural community just south of El Paso, Texas called Clint. I played Trombone. Clint HS won the presitgious Honor Band award in '77 & again in '81. Honor Band isnt merely going to contest & getting all 1's, or what not. Its more like, being the state champion, across all types of competition. Only 1 band per division, is given this award, & it only occurs every 4 years.

    My DAUGHTER, was influenced at an early age when I took her to an Ohio State football game, & she got to see "Script Ohio", & Skull Session. NOW, she plays baritone for a HS here in Columbus that is known for the quality of its band program. In the past 2 years, they've marched in the Rose Bowl Parade, played for a presidential nominee on the campaign trail & her senior year, they'll be participating in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.
  13. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I loved my experience in marching band. It was the only venue we kids had to play *any* rock tune. No rock bands allowed...the parents didn't like it. They barely tolerated jazz band. But we always got to do some rock tunes at football games. Playing those songs inspired me to try for jazz band, which opened even more door. But I would have never considered trying jazz, had it not been for my marching band experience.

    I learned to listen, to work hard at my music, and to handle distractions while playing, in marching band. I was a clumsy, chubby, dorky girl with thick glasses, but marching band gave me a place where I could do something I was good at. It gave me confidence in myself I could never have found in sports.

    Those musical experiences, coupled with acting in the local theatre, made me a well-rounded and confident performer. I am very thankful for my marching band experience, and remember it with great fondness.

    Just sayin'...

  14. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    DUDE!!! I saw you march!!! We didn't compete against you...we were 4A, and then 5A, in Weslaco. And we sucked that year...we got the first 3rd division rating in the history of the school, that year. (And we didn't let it ever happen again!)

    But I saw you march!!! Y'all were badass!!!

    Cherie...Weslaco Panther Band, '77-'81, Weslaco, Texas :)
  15. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    It isn't that heavy :p 35 pounds max I think,although we never have weighed one. The freshmen always complain though :p
  16. I just want to warn off anyone who's thinking of marching with a french horn. Bad. Plan.
  17. boring part its like playing polka no matter what every one else is playing every note on the up beat i wanted to slap the french horn section but they were behind me
  18. tuBass


    Dec 14, 2002
    Mesquite, Texas
    yeah, I marched a little. 4 years high school, 3 summers in the six flags marching band, and 5 years in college. The college I went to had a marching band, but not a football team, so we got to focus more on a performance style show than an accompianment for a football team. THe only reason to be in a college band is if you can go to a school that actually has a team worth watching, otherwise forget it.

    In case, you couldn't tell from my name, I'm a tuba player
  19. MarkyMark


    Dec 11, 2005
    my brother used a french horn to solo in our marching band's arrangement of "twelve second to the moon"

    I was in MB for 4 years in high school. I played trumpet freshmen year, baritone sax sophomore year, and tenor sax junior and senior year (I was the sax leader for both those years as well). I liked it but I didn't. I strongly did not like the director so that put a hurtin' on my experience but overall it was fun. My trumpet was kicked off the bleachers at a football game a few hours after I was in a bad car accident so freshmen year was not fun. My back gave out three times the following year with the baritone sax. The tenor was much nicer to me. I enjoyed my last two years, had an ensemble that was showcased my senior year.
    In a band of around 200, the directors, parents, judges, event announcers all said that the tenor sax (me) was very strong and that the rest of the band needed to come up to match my volume (yes, I could be heard over the entire ensemble and I still managed to keep a good tone). Needless to say, I was one of the few that carried the marching band to success the last two years (not bragging... well, ok I am).

    Jefferson City High School Marching Jay Band class of '04
  20. who else plays the trombone?

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