Why I Love Marching Bands

I’ve made several posts with linked videos and audios of collegiate marching bands, mainly playing their school fight songs.  I suppose it’s foolish to do so, but when one really loves something  one feels a compulsion to share the joy with others – whether the others like it or not.  That certainly explains religious proselytizing.  At least with this blog the reader can freely choose to not open the video and audio files.  It’s usually not quite so easy to escape the religious fanatic.

You might wonder how I became such a fan of marching bands.  I’m going to tell you – even if you haven’t wondered.

My brother-in-law was a music teacher – eventually the head of the music department of the public school system in a mid-size city in New York State.  In addition to giving  individual lessons he directed the orchestras, choruses and bands (marching, pep, jazz and concert) for the elementary and secondary schools.  He also played in and directed national champion marching bands for the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

When I was a teen and in my early twenties he would drag me along to his rehearsals, pregame and halftime football shows, concerts and parades.  In truth, I went willingly.  I got to see music from the inside and gained not only great respect for the hard work and discipline that goes into preparing and performing, but also a life long love for the product.

I also came to realize how much extracurricular activities such as music, art and sports contribute to the total education of young people.  Beyond the mastery of the Three Rs in the classroom these endeavors teach young people self discipline, responsibility, functioning as a part of a greater group, pride in personal and group accomplishments, as well as develop skills that can be used for a lifetime.  They build self confidence and social skills – and they are great fun.

Only if you have seen it up close or have personally participated can you appreciate the degree of effort that goes into preparing for the performances you witness on the field.  In addition to the long physically grueling hours on the practice field there is the need to practice on your instrument and learn the music and the intricate marching routines.  These young people do all this and still must keep up with the same course load demands that other students have.

Here is a short documentary video I found on YouTube a few days ago which gives a tiny hint of the hard work involved in putting on a show at the football game. It also demonstrates why uniforms are necessary.  😀  The band involved is the University of Wisconsin Badger Band – my favorite collegiate band. Video is best viewed full screen.

Here is a clip from after a game in which the band lets people what they think of themselves.

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