In all areas of the country, marching band is a vital part of the fall high school experience. While the types of bands at each school vary from groups that perform only at football games and pep rallies to ensembles that are competitive at a high level, marching band is a traditional key to a successful, spirit-filled fall.
When it comes to competitive marching band music and show design, there are countless options to choose from. One area which has grown in popularity over the past few years is the complete show featuring several selections of music with a theme. Companies such as Key Poulan Music, Gary P. Gilroy Publications and Grand Mesa Music have proven to be excellent resources for quality performances. These companies’ writers have had extensive experience writing successful music for highly competitive marching shows.
There are a few key advantages to selecting a complete show. You receive exclusive rights to perform a show in your territory, and most shows provide all the parts you need for a robust percussion section – often arranged by a separate percussion arranger. Furthermore, complete shows make it easier to control your budget while giving your band the opportunity to play accessible pieces at a near-professional level. An added bonus is the ability to review last year’s most popular shows, which allows you to avoid music that may be overperformed this year.
While finding the right show for your band is an important piece of the puzzle, there are a number of other ways to develop your program. Here are some good resources to help you do just that:
Halftime Magazine – a magazine that features great articles all about the marching arts
Marching Roundtable – a wonderful podcast on a variety of marching arts-related topics
The Breathing Gym – a fantastic book for all marching wind sections
And, of course, YouTube – for countless marching videos at every conceivable level
While music, resources, and information certainly help, directors and students are the ones who really make the magic happen. To get a deeper perspective on what’s important when planning a show, we asked a few directors to share the keys to their program’s success:
“Extensive forethought and scrutiny in the programming and production development phase to maximize the vehicle we provide the students to achieve their best and emotionally connect with the given year’s program. In addition, unified student and staff culture – establishing a common belief and buying into the value of pursuing excellence for the sake of excellence regardless of scores and placements.” Glenn Cowen, Upper Moreland High School (Willow Grove, PA)
“Always keep how the kids see the band as more important than how you see the band. Their perception is way more important than our reality! Also, never forget why you fell in love with it – remind yourself of that when evaluating shows, staff and your schedule.” Scott Litzenberg, Unionville High School (Kennett Square, PA)
Though one marching season has just finished up, the next one is only a few months away. It’s never too soon to start planning and preparing for next fall! Take a look at the complete shows that are available now. The perfect show for your band could be just a click away.
We hope this information helps you and your students reach new heights with successful and rewarding performances.