Marching Band Thread

We’re well into the college football season, which also means marching band season! We haven’t had a thread like this in quite a long time, so let’s get started.

I’ll put up a couple videos from my Alma Mater, the University of Arizona, recently ranked as being one of the top 5 bands in the country. Their 2010 show, Muse, is IMO probably one of the best they’ve ever done. I found three recordings of the Band Day performance on YouTube. The first is from a relatively high angle, so you can see most of the field.
Time is Running Out & City of Delusion
Blackout & Knights of Cydonia

The other two recordings are from shallower angles, but show a bit more detail:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Part 1/2 Part 3

This one is USC’s version of Knights of Cydonia, along with Won’t Get Fooled Again and Tusk!

I’ll also put up an amazing high school marching band from Japan:
Nishihara '00-'01

Absolute favorite:
March Fourth Marching Band

(MUST be seen live)

Old School time - My high school band from when I was a Freshman - in 1978. (That’s the first of four parts.)

I’m the bass drummer in the opening shot on the left of the screen (who’s cut off by the edge of the screen). I know it’s not much by today’s standards, but we were a powerhouse. We won every competition we entered, and in the next four years were pretty consistently ranked in the top ten in the nation. Not bad for a group that only had 100 people marching, including the auxiliaries.

Then the band director left, and within four years the band pretty much self-destructed.

For me, it’s all about the FAMU Marching 100. Best marching band in the world? Could be. I was watched them strut their stuff just this weekend, at the FAMU Homecoming Parade. My friends and I found a spot up on a little wall, off the street, across from a large, flat faced, new hotel. When the 100 (actually almost 500 strong these days, but the name sticks) came up the road in full uniform, sunlight bouncing off those polished horns, dancing as they marched, and all that sound hit the wall across from us and bounced back in our faces - well, that was an experience I’ll never forget.

Seriously. FAMU football? Nothing to write home about. FAMU Marching Band? World famous.

Do you want to talk about college bands, or marching bands?

I hate Texas A&M with every fiber of my being. And yet I must grudgingly admit that their marching band is fantastic. For that is what they do: march. With stunning military precision. It’s not Hollywood, it’s just plain marching about as perfect as it gets.

Here’s a sample. Marching starts about 2 minutes in.

How many marching bands do you know that aren’t high school or college bands? If you’ve got other ideas, go ahead and post them. I’ll even take Drum Corps, though I hear they get offended if you call them a “marching band.” :slight_smile:

I was a member of the UMass Minuteman Marching Band. Here is a video of the 2001 BOA show. Unfortunately, Mr. Parks passed away in September. Here is the video of the alumni band this year (over 900 alums and I was there). Long live bandos!

This is from 1983–I was a Freshman at Valdosta High (GA). I played mellophone (French Horn during concert season, trumpet with jazz band). At the time we had around 350 members. Now I think they are under 100…

Valdosta Marchin Cats

And by the way, we won…

Very good marching, but otherwise a dull show, IMHO. nothing but marching up and down the field, and never changing the pace. To see some incredible marching, I like to show people Drum Corps. To really blow people away, I like to show them the Cavaliers’ show “The Machine”

I’m a bit jealous of those who were in competition-winning bands in high school. My high school band program was a mess. I think we went through 5 instructors during the time I was there.

DCI marching is amazing, but it’s also a different beast than a college marching band. Most college bands learn a new show for every game, which puts a low ceiling on the complexity of the drill.

Not, of course, that I want to discourage the posting of DCI videos…

The marching may be fantastic, but the band part just sucks. It’s not music. Hell, they have a Grammy award for Polka for crying out loud. Not one for marching band because no one should be encouraging that fricking noise. The hell with marching bands! It’s not music!!!

Why yes, I do live fairly close to a college football stadium. Why do you ask?

speaking of their “marching up and down the field”:

Known for military precision and style, some of the band’s maneuvers are so complex that a computer says they can’t be done because they require two people to be in the same place at the same time.

I’m eagerly waiting to see if someone from my high school posts to boast their marching band prowess.

waving at lawoot I’m pretty sure we must have marched against one another! I was a HS sophomore in the fall of '78. Our '77 band was better; we marched about 100 too, in a school of less than 500. Our float drill was excellent, I keep telling my kids, who belong to a HS marching band that is more similar to the Cavaliers than they are to the marching band at my old school!

I’ve always loved the way the Michigan State band Spins the “S” in their pregame.

I love all this, thank you very much. (Especially appreciated on this cold and rainy day.)

Here’s my marching band – the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable. If you’re in the Atlanta area check us out around town at The Marching Abominable is an Atlanta institution – and most of us should be in one. :slight_smile:

Check out our other videos on YouTube, including two mini-documentaries done on us, one by the nice folks at Turner and our local PBS outlet.

I’m in some of this footage – sousaphone and/or double-bell euphonium, which the Band refers to as “the two-headed baby.”

Here’s the Seed and Feed at DragonCon – one of the few gigs where the audience is more colorful than the band.


I’m loving this–high school marching band season is over in Indiana by now (ISSMA State was on Halloween) and I need MOAR! I only got to go to one competition this year–my brother is a junior now, and my fall break coincided with the weekend of regionals.

I was in the Carroll High School Charger Pride (opinions vary on whether a charger is a warhorse, like on the big truck, or a lightning bolt, like on the little trailer) from 2003-2006.

My experiences in marching band include two of the few times I have felt like I’m in a movie.

2004 season: We had a great season. Now it is regionals, and we’re all desperately hoping to go to state this year, since we didn’t make it last time, even though our record at invitationals was about the same. It’s October, and not to put to fine a point on it, it’s also cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. We were one of the last bands to perform, so we don’t have time to change out of our uniforms before hearing the awards. There are 150 of us or so, standing just outside the chain-link fence that surrounded the football stadium, standing there in our uniforms that felt so hot in the summer but might as well have left us standing naked on this late autumn night. Some other flutes and I pass around two or three handwarmers. A few snowflakes drift by, high overhead.

They start the awards. We get a gold. That means we have a chance. A chance to be part of the five bands who would go on to state and become immortal (this was before they restructured the system). “And now, in no particular order, the five bands who will be moving on to ISSMA State competition.” The announcer’s voice sounds the same at every competition. One name. Not us. Another. Not us. Another. Another. We, all hundred-plus of us, lock arms, cross fingers,even try to cross toes in our Drill Masters. The longest moment in the history of moments hangs suspended in the icy air. Then: “The Charger Pride, from Carroll High School!”

Just like a movie.

You can just imagine the buses on the 2.5 hour ride back to the high school. :smiley:

This was that show. We got 6th place at state (class B).

2005 Season: Again, we were having a good season. Winning the invitationals we went to. However, this one evening, we had sort of resigned ourselves to second place. See, at this invitational, Concord was going to be competing. Concord was the biggest band in class B, at least half again as large as any other. They supposedly kept their numbers up by offering a band trip to Hawaii every year. No one ever beat them. It was easier for them to hide mistakes with so many people.

But, as you may have guessed from my saying that these marching band experiences reminded me of being in a movie, they did not actually win that night. No. The third place band was announced. We fully expected to place second at that point, knowing the third place band’s performance and having won the caption award for music. Then…“Second Place, Concord High School”. It may have been poor form for us to start going nuts at that point, but we did. Our parents did too. Everyone who wasn’t Concord did, basically. It was more exciting than going to state (at which time Concord of course placed ahead of us-I guess they decided to really buckle down after this so rude wake-up call at this invitational). In the entire time I was in marching band in class B, no one else ever beat Concord at a regular invitational. (I once told someone that I was part of a band that beat Concord and they spontaneously declared love for me. I don’t know the class B scene anymore, but for people my age, they were known as unbeatable.)

2005 show:

That was also the season that included a very strange weekend which I shall only refer to as “Fear and Loathing at BOA”. Good times.

I remember my days of matching (with sax) at Crockett High in Austin and also with Univ of Texas. The Director was Paula Crider (scroll down to 1993 section) who, in hindsight, was amongst the most talented and attitude-formative (for me and most others) of every teacher I have ever had. Her ability to inspire the students and young adults was amazing and it was always good hearing her saying how UT told her she had a black-check if/when she wanted to become UT’s Music Director. I don’t have time to Google for any videos/other info on her, but there is likely some awesome stuff with her name on it.

The Univ of Texas band was (is?) known as Showband of The Southwest, and they worked for it. I have seen enough games between UT/Aggies to know its personal to have the better show and I loved how Ms Crider told us to keep our butts loose, not like those tight-assed Aggies that learned one thing only(precision/syncopation, per se) without knowing how to make to into something with a ‘soul’. Oh how she disliked them Aggies :cool:

One unrelated thing about how Ms Crider affected me (indirectly) was her blatant (to some) show of her ‘lesbianism’ and her demand of her sig-other (Patty??) being her paid assistant. I never saw it as a bad thing, but some parents came in to 'talk about their kids ‘seeing things’, like two women working well together and and then having the same home address, or gibing a hug when one left for the day…Paula fought the ignorance and, iirc, won every battle she had develop. Thanks, Paula, for being such a great influence on me! And giving me the experiences of winning TX 5A competitions. That is something I take great pride in. Still. I often think I have the similar Al Bundy attitude of “I scored perfect scores at State marching competitions! Doesn’t that count for something?!”. I came across my certificates of winning jus the other day while digging out some old papers - good memories there :slight_smile:

If anyone ever gets the chance, see the Marine Corp Silent Drill team. Here’s little clip off youtube. Perfect syncopation of everyone.