Marching Band; It’s Not a Sport, It’s a Performing Art

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Marching Band; It’s Not a Sport, It’s a Performing Art

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As a musician in high school, where being able to catch a ball or score a goal is seen as the quintessential skill, it’s a dream to be recognized by your peers, and have your hard work acknowledged. One thing we hear more than anything else from our classmates is “Marching band isn’t a sport.”, to which I always say, “You’re right, it’s a performing art.”

What I hope to accomplish with this article is a level of understanding from anyone who might be reading, and to highlight the behind-the-scenes work put into each show. From the blood, sweat, tears, and false promises of “one more time”, welcome to the world of the Sheridan Marching Generals.

The marching band rehearses Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday every week for about 3 months. Coupled with the long days during band camp in the summer, we are perhaps one of the most hard-working and consistently practicing groups at Sheridan. Although we are not a competitive band, we certainly maintain the competitive spirit, always wanting to be the best. As a result, every Friday before our halftime shows, our head director, Mr. Dave Fazakas, gives us the same pep-talk. This usually consists of “Remember everything we’ve worked on. And remember that the other band is watching and they know when your knees aren’t high enough or your turns aren’t sharp enough.” We are always reminded we are being watched and being compared to the other band performing.

Unlike in sports, the energy between the two bands is usually that of a friendly and supportive one. It’s shared knowledge in the band world that nothing is quite like hearing a crowd cheer after finishing a song or a show, and the electricity in the air is certainly addictive. So when each band finishes, it’s normally the other band who screams louder than anyone in the stadium.

This picture perfectly captures the joy that performing gives the band members.

 

Picture taken at the Logan Chieftans Fall Festival of Bands.

Each year the Marching Generals host a “Festival of Bands”, which is exactly as it sounds. Around 6 or 7 bands come to Sheridan to perform the shows they’ve worked on for weeks, and to enjoy the other bands. This is  the most anticipated event all year for bands everywhere, as it gives them a chance to feature their efforts for others to appreciate and cheer on. The 2018 festival was Saturday the 8th of September this year, and boasted bands such as the Marching Lancers from Lakewood, and the Marching Blue Aces from Granville. The Lancer band is one of the most easily recognizable high school bands in Ohio, and makes trips annually to Disney World to perform in their (Disney’s) nightly parades. Seeing members of the athletic community at Sheridan in the bleachers this past Saturday warmed the hearts of many band members, and their support was invaluable to all of us.

Photo taken at the Sheridan Festival of Bands this past Saturday, the 8th of September.

What I would like everyone to know, more than anything else, is the love we have for the art. Brandon Lanning, a senior in his 5th year of marching band, said “My favorite memory in band can’t be ruled down to a particular moment. It’s when you finish a show that was done really well, and shivers go down your spine. And even though you’re not supposed to, you can’t help but smile.”  It’s passion like this that fuels the assiduous nature of our band.

In short, marching band is a commonly misunderstood art form. Many people judge it for its’ outer appearance, but at its’ core it’s a way to express yourself and to create something

beautiful with the people who mean the most to you. And for those of us (I’m speaking for myself here) who have tried and failed at every sport in existence, it’s a means to be a part of a community and something that is larger than yourself. So the next time the band hosts a festival, or even just during a halftime show, maybe take a break from the popcorn, hotdogs, and football, and support your band. You might even find that you enjoy the show.

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