Senior trumpet player Drew Tomasik (C) has a solo in this year’s Warsaw Community High School Marching Band show titled ‘Saturn Returns.’ Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Senior trumpet player Drew Tomasik (C) has a solo in this year’s Warsaw Community High School Marching Band show titled ‘Saturn Returns.’ Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Saturn’s orbit around the sun takes about 29 years.
In that time, a person is born, grows up, learns to ride a bike, becomes a teenager, has their first crush, graduates high school and college and may begin to start their own family.
That’s the idea behind Warsaw Community High School Marching Band’s theme, “Saturn Returns,” for the 2014 season, according to band director Mickey Ratliff.
“When a person is born, Saturn is in the sky in a particular place, and it won’t return to that place for almost 30 years. The theme is that while Saturn is completing its orbit, you’re going from birth to teenager to young adulthood,” Ratliff said.
A person’s late 20s is a significant part of their life, he said, because many people at that age get married and start having children. It’s also at that time that a person begins a period of reflection when they’re looking back on their life and deciding what to do with their future.
“You’re going from not even born yet to that period of life before Saturn’s even completed one orbit,” he said.
The Tigers’ Marching Band show includes three pieces.
The first piece is called “Saturn Returns,” written and composed by Michael Markowski. The WCHS band got their theme for this season from Markowski’s idea for his music.
“This is a brand new piece by him. It wasn’t published when we decided to do it. He recently just published it. I had heard a recording of it in the spring, and I thought it was a good idea for the marching band. We have played his music before,” Ratliff said.
When he went to a website to purchase Markowski’s music, it wasn’t available so Ratliff contacted Markowski. Markowski told Ratliff it wasn’t published yet, but sent him the music’s arrangement so the marching band could use it.
“The whole concept of ‘Saturn Returns’ and 29 years was all his idea so we’re basing our whole show around it. In our show, ‘Saturn Returns’ is about birth and the early stages of life,” Ratliff said.
The second piece is called “Gabriel’s Oboe,” composed by Ennio Morricone. It’s from the soundtrack to the film “The Mission.”
“Our version is going to reflect the teen years and particularly as it relates to first love, a first crush, puppy love and that sort of romantic feelings,” Ratliff said.
The second piece also will feature a trumpet solo by senior Drew Tomasik.
“He’s a great young musician and a great trumpet player,” Ratliff said of Tomasik. “I wanted to feature him somewhere – it’s his senior year and he’s a great player – so when we were picking the music I remembered this piece and I thought it would be great for him. It’s one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, pieces on the marching field.”
“Number one, it’s a great honor and definitely the most challenging thing I’ve done in my four years I’ve been here,” Tomasik said.
He said this year’s show also is really fun to play and is technically challenging.
The third piece of music for the show also is by Markowski and is titled “Instinctive Travels.” Ratliff said it’s really fast, rhythmic and intense.
“So we’re going to use that piece to symbolize the third decade, the 20s to 30s, when you’re reaching adulthood and making tough decisions in life and you’re going through conflicts and resolving those conflicts,” Ratliff explained. “Finally, at the end of the show, you reach full adulthood and full maturity as Saturn returns to where it was when you were born.”
For the show, he said they also will incorporate some different visual things like backdrops, the color guard and their flags to get ideas across.
As for the goals for this season, Ratliff said the marching band made it to Scholastic State Finals last season. The Indiana State School Music Association also revamped its class system last year and created the Scholastic Class, which WCHS entered and qualified for state in, so a goal is to repeat that, he said.
“Regardless of how we do, our goal is to keep getting better and better, to march better and better, to do our show better and better each and every time,” Ratliff said. “Part of my goal, and the teachers’ and staff’s, is we want to create a better show year after year. We want to design a better show than the year before and the year before that and so on. That may be the toughest part of the job.”
Tomasik said his goal is to help bring his section and the whole band to a higher place at state competition than where it’s ever been before.
Kameron Reiter, senior saxophone player, has played in the band since the seventh grade.
“It’s been very rewarding and a lot of fun, that’s for sure,” Reiter said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but I really, really love it.”
Reiter’s goal is to inspire others in the band and himself to continue to get better.
Freshman Rosalyn Engle, who plays the clarinet, said going from the middle school to high school level is challenging, but it’s a good challenge. It has made her grow musically.
Also a clarinet player, freshman Autumn Proudfoot said this year’s music is a challenge, but it’s also well rounded.
Being in the high school band, she said, “It’s very intimidating at times, but everyone makes you feel welcome. There’s no pressure and everyone is nice and it feels very safe.”
Wednesday at 6 p.m. is the band’s preview show. It will be held on the practice field behind the high school, or in the auditorium in case of inclement weather. Parents and the public are invited.
The band will perform at half time at home football games Aug. 29, Sept. 12, Sept. 26 and Oct. 17. Band senior night is Oct. 17.
Marching band contests are: Sept. 13, Goshen High School Invitational; Sept. 20, East Noble High School Invitational; Sept. 27, Penn High School Invitational; Oct. 4, Homestead High School Invitational; Oct. 11, ISSMA Scholastic Prelims, Homestead High School; and Oct. 25, ISSMA Scholastic State Finals, Lawrence Central High School, Indianapolis.
Ratliff concluded, “I think we’ve got a really good (show). I’m eager to see it all put together.”