By Leah Ogden
In previous years at Arundel, marching band has been a relatively strong ensemble- notably taking 4th place at a national championship back in 2014. Yet, this season, nearly everything has been taken to another level. The 2017 program, Daredevil, is already a display filled with promise- and I’m confident that those who’ve witnessed it so far will agree.
At the first two football games, the band played to an incredibly receptive crowd, and the support of the students watching contributed a great amount of energy to the atmosphere. Of course, it’s always been pleasant that the band has performed at school events- but this year, they have something pretty special.
If you’ve seen previous shows presented by the band, then you know that whatever they put on the field is already going to be solid. However, think back to last year’s show- at the first half-time show of the 2016 season, the students could only cohesively perform maybe a few minutes of the show. And, of course, it was still a feat to be proud of; they weren’t behind schedule, and what they did play, they knew well. But this year, at the first game, the band was able to march and play nearly the entire show- and it was well worth watching.
These results weren’t exactly shocking, either. This success began all the way back in August, during band camp. During these two weeks, similar progress was made. Because of that, this season really started off with an improved sense of focus, which created a positive outlook for what else could be accomplished throughout this year, and definitely raised everybody’s standards.
Another thing that should be noted about this year’s group is the all around increased difficulty- the techniques used and the selection of music is not only harder, but also just more interesting in comparison to what they’ve worked with before. The quality of the music is going to make a huge statement about our band at competitions, and although it’s faster and crazier material, the musicians are really pulling it off. This can be attributed to their dedication to rehearsals- even finding time to work on these parts during school. Similarly, there’s already a difference when it comes to the artistic choices made for the show. The visuals are more complicated and fluid, and they’re also relevant to the theme. The players have learned choreography that is meant to represent the many sports that the show encompasses- each part of the music is meant to illustrate a specific activity, and these additions provide a lot of clarity to the show.
One more exciting element of the show would be the props and concepts that they’re using. Something cool about this is seeing the amount of outside participation this has allowed- our art students have helped decorate items we use in the show, and they’ve even recruited Arundel students who can skateboard to be a part of each performance, which is a pretty grand way of completing the ideas they’re trying to convey. The props, which have been made by select dedicated parents, all represent the sports that line up with the music- but the main attraction would certainly be the large half-pipe, which the performers do actual tricks on during the skating sections of the performance.
Although we’ve always had a well organized, talented band, the positivity and accomplishments seem to have dramatically increased this time around. Between the unique, upgraded material, and the impressive devotion shown from the members, parents and staff, Arundel’s marching band has some great stuff to work with, and a lot to be proud of.