Editor, Times-Union:
They march with sweat running down their faces, and sporting tan lines that would make any farmer proud. They are still marching when the weather turns cold, and they have to wear under armor to keep from freezing. There’s no question marching band takes dedication, but what exactly does it take to be in the marching band?
This year’s marching show, titled Dreamland, is a little more than seven and a half minutes long. Band members can march 400 yards, often more, in that time, while playing their instrument. To give you a perspective that would be like running the whole length of the football field four times – sideways, backwards, and weaving between people all the while singing and wearing a coat, gloves, a funny hat and doing dance moves. Oh, remember you have to do it in seven and a half minutes and one wrong step could mean disaster. It’s no wonder some call marching band an extreme sport.
The grueling work paid off this year, as the Warsaw Marching Tiger’s Pride qualified for ISSMA Scholastic State Finals with a Gold rating at Prelims and earned with “Distinction” awards in Music and Visual Performance. State Finals are, Oct. 26 at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. Warsaw will be performing at 5:30 p.m. and awards will be at 7:40 p.m.
Marching Band From A Parents’ Perspective
When my oldest son started marching band his freshman year, we were moving to Warsaw and it took forever to close on our house. I had to drive close to an hour every day to get him to pre-band camp and then wait several hours before I could drive him home. I admit wondering if not participating in marching band would make that much difference. Four years later, that son is a senior and I’m so glad I stuck it out and kept bringing him. I learned that high school marching band is much more than just a half-time show. It teaches some pretty valuable lessons.
A few days after school started that freshman year, I asked my son if he’d found anyone to sit by at lunch. He said he had been sitting by himself, but some of the band kids noticed and told him to come sit by them. I learned that band kids stick together and watch out for each other.
Our band only has a few color guards. They are the people who wave flags around and toss them in the air. The guard are a vital part of a marching show. They also get to wear really cool make-up and costumes. Since there are so few of them (only eight this year) it is very obvious if one of them is gone and they are sorely missed. I was watching a practice and noticed what looked like a big hole in the marching formation. Someone was missing. Interesting that the band has close to a hundred and when even one of them missing, it’s just as obvious as when one of our beloved guard are missing. I discovered everyone is a starter in marching band, everyone is important, no one can take your place, and when you’re gone, it leaves a big hole.
My younger son was always right there at my side when I volunteered with the band. He helped with band camp lunches, filled coolers with ice, and ran the metronome. Last year when he had a concert, the high school band kids cheered for him by name until he took a little bow. I learned that band kids watch out for the little guy. He is so excited to be an official band member this year.
Last Saturday at Prelims, as the marching band got suited up, I was in charge of making sure everyone’s shoes looked top notch. I sat there, black shoe polish in hand, chatting with the band kids and I noticed there were lots of parents wearing buttons with pictures of their children. I had two buttons myself. Interestingly enough, no children wore buttons with pictures of their parents. I had a moment of clarity and knew I was officially a weird adult. I also knew that band and guard kids were the greatest because they treat weird adult like normal people. That’s a skill that will take you a long way in life and who would have thought they teach that in marching band, here in good ol’ Warsaw, Indiana.
Amy Holt
Warsaw, via e-mail