Issuu on Google+

MAY 2009 $5.00

Jay Webb A Commitment to Excellence

Report: Drill Writing Roundtable: Uniforms and Footwear


Contents 26

38

28

May 2009

Features 12

UPFRONT Q&A: NEIL GROVER Neil Grover, president of Grover Pro Percussion and active percussionist with the Boston Pops, presents an overview of the essential mallets and drumsticks every school music program should have on-hand.

20

GUEST EDITORIAL: EQUIPMENT LOGISTICS SBO contributor Nancy Clark ponders solutions for the logistical challenges of handling marching band equipment.

26

COMMENTARY: ARMED FORCES Bob Spiegelman urges band directors to consider performing in honor of the Armed Forces at their school’s graduation ceremony.

28

UPCLOSE: JAY WEBB Fresh off of first-place finishes at the Bands of America Grand National Championships and the WGI World Championships, Avon (Ind.) High School’s Jay Webb sits down with SBO to talk about developing a commitment to excellence and achieving success on the national stage.

38

REPORT: DRILL WRITING SBO catches up with three accomplished drill writers who share their secrets to designing a great marching band field show.

48

ROUNDTABLE: UNIFORMS AND FOOTWEAR Directors from around the country give advice on getting the most out of an ensemble’s performance apparel.

To read this month’s Technology column, visit www.sbomagazine.com.

Columns 4 6 44

Perspective Headlines New Products

45 46 48

Playing Tip Classifieds Ad Index

Cover photo by Nate Crouch, Avon, Ind. SB&O School Band and Orchestra® (ISSN 1098-3694) is published monthly by Symphony Publishing, LLC, 21 Highland Circle, Suite 1, Needham, MA 02494 (781) 453-9310, publisher of Musical Merchandise Review, Choral Director, Music Parents America and JAZZed. All titles are federally registered trademarks and/or trademarks of Symphony Publishing, LLC. Subscription Rates: one year $24; two years $40. Rates outside U.S.A. available upon request. Single issues $5 each. February Resource Guide $15. Periodical-Rate Postage Paid at Boston, MA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER/ SUBSCRIBERS: Send address change to School Band and Orchestra, P.O. Box 8548, Lowell, MA 01853. No portion of this issue may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publishers of this magazine do not accept responsibility for statements made by their advertisers in business competition. Copyright © 2009 by Symphony Publishing, LLC, all rights reserved. Printed in USA.


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Perspective

Bring the Stimulus Package to School

T

he effects of the current economic crisis have had dramatic repercussions within all levels of the education community, leaving many music teachers extremely concerned about the survival of their programs and their jobs. According to an article in The New York Times, March 21 edition, part of the national economic stimulus package that is slated for education, in many states, will filter through to the music and the arts. One concern, though, is that states and local districts have significant leeway in how these dollars may be used, and they may be vying to divert the stimulus dollars to support a variety of other programs. This presents a critical time when arts programs must again rally for the sup“Arts programs port of their respective communities to ensure that they are must again rally deemed integral parts of their local systems. With nearly $40 billion in economic stimulus slated spefor the support cifically for education, many schools will be receiving between of their respective $1,300 and $1,800 per student over the course of the next communities.” year. However, some states are considering cuts to existing education funding, which in essence is redirecting funds to shore up their budgets in other areas. In The Times, Molly Hunter, the executive director of the New Jersey-based finance-advocacy group Education Justice, indicates that, “States have big shortfalls in their budgets, and there’s going to be the temptation to use the stimulus money for that purpose.” She notes that the practice of “supplanting,” or replacing, state funds with federal funds is generally highly restricted by federal guidelines, but there are always loopholes through which some of these rules can be skirted. The second concern about the education stimulus package is the equitable distribution of the funds between under-funded systems and those that have significant capital resources. “Utah, where a $1.3 billion budget deficit has threatened deep school cuts, will get about $655 million in education stimulus money, or about $1,250 per student, according to the federal Department of Education. Wyoming, which has no deficit and has not cut school budgets in many years, will get about $1,684 per student.” This situation, unfortunately keeps music out of the schools of many districts that simply can’t afford to support a program even with the economic recovery money. Although the stimulus package is far from perfect, it could serve to alleviate some of the drastic measures that would have been necessary in order to maintain current levels of funding at the local level. Music and arts programs are still in a precarious position as far too many districts regard them as enhancements to their curriculum rather than core subjects like Math and Science. This is a pivotal time to rally support and write letters to local, state, and federal politicians insisting that stimulus funds be directed to their proper destinations.

®

May 2009 Volume 12, Number 5

GROUP PUBLISHER Sidney L. Davis sdavis@symphonypublishing.com PUBLISHER Richard E. Kessel rkessel@symphonypublishing.com Editorial Staff

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Christian Wissmuller

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EDITOR Eliahu Sussman esussman@symphonypublishing.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Denyce Neilson dneilson@symphonypublishing.com Art Staff

PRODUCTION MANAGER Laurie Guptill

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GRAPHIC DESIGNER Andrew P. Ross aross@symphonypublishing.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Laurie Chesna lchesna@symphonypublishing.com Advertising Staff

ADVERTISING SALES Iris Fox

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CLASSIFIED SALES Maureen Johan mjohan@symphonypublishing.com Business Staff

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Member 2009

RPMDA Rick Kessel rkessel@symphonypublishing.com 4 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


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Keepin’ HeadLines Theo Wanne Classic Mouthpieces Granted Design Patent

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heo Wanne Classic Mouthpieces were granted a patent for the internal shape of their saxophone mouthpieces. The interior design patent encompasses their signature True Large Chambers, a step baffle, and rounded inner side-walls. Theo Wanne uses the term True Large Chamber in referring to his mouthpieces because his mouthpiece chambers are 30 percent larger than traditional large chamber mouthpieces. Although the larger chambers, especially with their complex curves, are much harder to manufacture, they are said to significantly improve sound and playability. For additional information on the Theo Wanne Classic Mouthpieces, please visit www.theowanne.com

Tracy Leenman Given Friend of Music Business Award

T

racy Leenman, CEO of the recently-formed Musical Innovations, received the SCMEA Friend of Music Business Award at the South Carolina Music Educators Conference annual In-Service Convention in Charleston, S.C. This award is given annually to thank, honor, and recognize a member of the business community who has shown exemplary support for local music education programs. Nominees must be recommended by a music educator, a school administrator, and a student or parent who benefitted from the nominee’s contributions. Mrs. Leenman was nominated by David Allison and Maria Lee, band directors at Summit Parkway Tracy Leenman (center) receives the SCMEA Friend Middle School in Co- of Business Award. lumbia; Sig Tanner, principal at Summit Parkway; Linda Phipps, a second grade teacher; and a parent of two band students. Mrs. Leenman has been a member of SCMEA since 1994, and has served on their executive board as music industry representative and chairperson of the S.C. Coalition for Music Education since 1997. She has been active in the music industry, supporting school music programs at the state and national level for over 15 years. Musical Innovations, which she formed in 2008, is based in Greer and provides musical products and services to music educators, music retailers, music students, and their families. In addition to providing in-service clinics and workshops to educators, administrators, and community groups, Musical Innovations also provides consulting services and musical products to music retailers. The company has also recently begun selling musical instruments, accessories, and print music to area music students and educators. To learn more, visit www.tracysmusic.biz.


HeadLines Buffet Crampon & Antoine Courtois Paris Brass Artist

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ntoine Courtois Paris Brass, distributed in North America by Buffet Crampon USA, announced John Marcellus, Professor of Trombone at the Eastman School of Music, as the newest Antoine Courtois Paris Trombone Performing Artist. Professor Marcellus was recently at the Buffet Crampon USA headquarters in Jacksonville, Fla., to select his trombones: an AC440BR tenor trombone and an AC430TLR tenor trombone. Dr. Marcellus is a legend in the trombone performance and pedagogy world and is a world-renowned trombone virtuoso and teacher. For more information, visit www.buffetcrampon.fr.

Cascio Interstate Music Present the Bucks Wild! Drumline

C

ascio Interstate Music has partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks in an effort to provide an opportunity for Bucks fans to be further entertained at select games by the Milwaukee Bucks Wild! Drumline. The 21-person percussion ensemble made its debut during the first quarter break at a Bucks game back in February and has continued to perform for the fans. The group was selected via an open audition that was advertised the on Milwaukee Bucks Web site. The 21 percussionists feature â&#x20AC;&#x201C; eight on snare drums, three on tenor drums, five on bass drums, and five on cymbals. Cascio Interstate Music has outfitted the entire squad with Pearl equipment and instruments. More information about Cascio is available at www.interstatemusic.com.

8 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

Online Survey Results Do you expect your school/program to be impacted by the federal governments latest economic stimulus efforts?

Yes

47% No

35% I have no idea

18%

Visit www.sbomagazine.com and let your voice be heard in the current online poll â&#x20AC;&#x201C; results to be published in the next issue of SBO.


HeadLines

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Instrument Repair Forms

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alking Bird Music has introduced two new repair forms designed to help band and orchestra directors keep track of their instruments that are out for repair. The first form contains no “services listed” section, leaving directors free to write in their repair requests and making them suitable for use with any instrument. The second repair form is identical to the first, only it includes a prelisted work request checklist in an organized and concise format for band and orchestra instruments. This form also includes blank lines that can be used to write in additional repairs. All Walking Bird forms use carbonless paper, have three full parts, and have two product ID stubs. These forms are also available with a school imprint. For more information, visit www.walkingbirdmusic.com or call (800) 525-8247.

Green Anthem Eco-Music Project The Green Anthem is a modularized eco-friendly teaching curriculum created by Julie Lyonn-Lieberman. Seven lesson plans complete with student handouts and mp3 files are free to all music educators on the Green Anthem Web site. The project includes three national competitions, interdisciplinary cooperation within schools, community out-reach and a school concert program. The project will culminate with a national concert for Earth Day’s fortieth anniversary, April 2010. For more details, visit www.greenanthem.org.

Boston Landmarks Orchestra’s Summer Festival

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harles Ansbacher, conductor and artistic director of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, has announced the highlights of the Orchestra’s 2009 season, which will include returning to DCR’s Hatch Shell for the third consecutive season of Landmarks’ Festival. For the first time, the Festival will include the screening of three performance films The Sound of Music, Swan Lake, and La Traviata., and a commissioned new work by local composer Thomas Oboe Lee called The Story of Frederick Law Olmsted. The Orchestra will perform nine concerts at DCR’s Hatch Shell on Wednesday nights from July Charles Ansbacher, the conductor and founder of Boston Landmarks Orchestra, speaking with Gerry Wright, the 15 through September 9. founder and president of Friends of Jamaica Pond. Boston Landmarks Orchestra will collaborate on some of the concerts with a number of Boston area arts organizations, including the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, which is in residence at the New England Conservatory this summer. For performance schedules, visit www.landmarksorchestra.org.


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SBOUpfrontQ&A: Neil Grover

Tips on Sticks and Mallets

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all, acorn, barrel, or olive tip? Wood tip or nylon? Hickory, maple, rattan, bamboo, or birch? Umbrella, standard, or replaceable felt-mallet head? Wound string or rubber? These are just a few of what seems like an

infinite number of questions to be considered when it comes to outfitting the percussion section of a school band or orchestra program with sticks and mallets.

In order to help make sense of how the differences in these products can affect the sound of your ensembles, SBO recently caught up with longtime, and active, orchestral professional, Neil Grover, who is also president of Grover Pro Percussion and SilverFox drumsticks. In this exclusive interview, Neil provides an overview of the essential sticks and mallets that every school band or orchestra program should have on hand.

12 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


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School Band & Orchestra: Hi Neil, let’s get right to it. What are the essential mallets and sticks that music directors should have in their band room? Neil Grover: The first thing any orchestra program needs is a good set of timpani mallets. Manufacturers usually offer five or six models, but typically, a program should have three different mallet types: a general mallet, which is good for general purpose

playing; a staccato mallet, which is good for slightly harder playing; and ultra staccato, for the most articulate passages. In addition to those three, it’s good to also have a legato model for very soft passages and a pair of wood headed timpani mallets. However, if I had to make a choice, I would go with the ultra-staccato over the legato. Young players often have difficulty articulating on timpani, so a pair of ultra-staccatos should help them play rhythmic passage with more clarity. SBO: Is weight a factor to be aware of with timpani sticks, as well? NG: Yes, but every manufacturer is different and there’s no standardization on this front. There are number of different brands that have good quality, well-balanced mallets. I would stick with one of the more well respected brands. I can’t tell you that 23 grams is better or worse than 50 grams because it’s a matter of individual preference. For a school, I would recommend a good quality, solid, maple-shaft timpani stick. I would avoid the bamboo, which is very delicate and won’t take any abuse. Even though professionals use bamboo quite often, I wouldn’t recommend it for most school programs. Another thing that should be considered for timpani mallets is that it needs to have a good quality white felt. The better quality mallets usually have very high quality outer felts, which are softer than low quality felts. The low quality mallets produce an undesirable “tick” when struck on the timpani. SBO: The felt affects the tonal qualities, correct? NG: That’s right. There are really three different kind of mallet heads for timpani sticks: a parachute style, which doesn’t have a seam; a removable ball-style mallet which allows you to replace the heads without sewing; and then there’s a mallet called a cartwheel mallet, which is more like a cylinder than a ball.

14 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


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Go from storage to transport to the field â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in minutes. During long hours of rehearsal, touring, performing or competing, OnBoardÂŽ Transport Carts can take a load off your mind. Designed with ďŹ&#x201A;exibility and mobility in mind, these carts work overtime to protect your equipment and staff while on the road. They make transitions from storage to transport to performance seamless â&#x20AC;&#x201D; without worry. Our new Timpani Cart, Bass Drum/Gong Cart and Speaker Cart secure equipment into place so you can concentrate on moving onto the ďŹ eld and giving your best performance. Each cart comes with pneumatic wheels allowing carts to roll easily on any surface. The OnBoard Cargo and Uniform Cart are a unique system for storing and transporting your instruments and uniforms. Complement these with OnBoard Keyboard and Percussion Carts â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and keep your marching program on a roll.

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SBO: Perhaps the second of those three might be best for a school ensemble? NG: Any of the three would work fine for schools as long as the players take care of the mallets. I can’t tell you how many times I see percussion mallets thrown around on the floor of band rooms! Make sure that the timpanists have a secure place to store the mallets and emphasize the importance of taking care of the equipment.

SBO: Moving beyond timpani, what other sticks and mallets would you deem essential to a school music program? NG: Typically, drumsticks should be the responsibility of the students. The percussion students need to be invested in the program somewhat, and sticks and mallets are what I think they should own and bring to rehearsals and concerts.

SBO: But considering that many kids don’t have much experience purchasing orchestral mallets and sticks, they often turn to the band director for guidance. With that in mind, what advice do you have that might help the educators point their students in the right direction? NG: Purchasing sticks and mallets is a very personal thing. I would highly suggest engaging a professional percussion educator to get recommenda-

“The most important thing is that the stick is appropriate to the genre being played, but you also have to find something that the

student is comfortable using.”

tions. Some of the better percussion specialty retailers can also recommend appropriate models. One thing people should know is that drum set sticks should not be used to play concert percussion, and concert percussion sticks won’t work well on the drum set, either. This is something that happens all the time, and it really makes it much harder to achieve the right sound in the ensemble. SBO: What are the distinctions? NG: A concert stick is usually heavier and has a thicker diameter than a drum set stick. The SD1 or SD2 models are appropriate for band and orchestra playing. Drum set sticks, like a 7A model are too light for a concert snare, so they won’t give you a full snare sound. I had a situation recently where a band director asked me to come in and help one of his student drummers who was playing with a school jazz band. Right off the bat, I saw that the kid was using heavy concert sticks, playing 10 times too loud, and dragging! Of course, in jazz, you should use a light stick, because the sound should be lighter. It would be like going to little league and giving kids a major league baseball bat. You 16 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


VISION INSPIRATION CRAFTSMANSHIP

would never do that because the kid would swing late every time. Just like a baseball bat, drumsticks have to be size and weight appropriate to the age and use. On the other hand, sometimes it can be easier for a younger child to handle a bigger stick that is easier to grip. The most important thing is that the stick is appropriate to the genre being played, but you also have to find something that the student is comfortable using. It’s a balance. Marching band, of course, is a whole other specialty, with dozens and dozens of varieties of sticks available. A generic stick, like a 3S, is a pretty good middle of the road stick for marching band. It might be a good place to start, but I’d also suggest talking to marching band specialists because that is not my area of expertise. SBO: How do the variations in tip, taper, and other stick characteristics affect the sound that the stick produces?

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18 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

NG: I prefer a ball tip for my concert work. Many symphonic players prefer an acorn tip, but for a student, I think you can’t go wrong with a general orchestral or band stick with a round tip. The round tip makes the stick a little easier to control, gives a consistent rebound, and helps execute rolls, I believe. It’s a little easier to play. Some of the professionals believe that they get a bigger, fuller sound out of a concert snare drum by playing sticks that have an acorn tip, and maybe a little bit of a darker sound, as well. If you’re playing a field drum, you might use those sticks as well. For concert toms, you’d probably want to use something different. It depends on the piece: sometimes they do call for a wood stick, in which case the concert stick would be appropriate, but other times you might want to use timpani sticks or a felt mallet. Other things to consider are that you don’t play rubber on concert toms unless it’s specifically called for. Hard rubber mallets are used on xylophone, and a soft rubber mallet is used for practicing. On suspended cymbals, you want to use a wound mallet, like a marimba or vibraphone mallet; avoid using a timpani mallet on a suspended cymbal!


ORCHESTRA, BAND, ENSEMBLE and PIT MALLETS

NG: There are hundreds of variations among wound mallets. For example, you have to decide whether you want rattan handles, birch handles, or synthetic handles. A synthetic handle doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t break very easily, but professionals usually stay away from them because they are usually too flexible. They are most applicable to a school situation because of their durability. For vibraphone mallets, you want a rattan handle mallet because it has a stiff flex to it, and you need that flex to play effectively. Typically when playing marimba, while there are exceptions to this, you usually want a long birch or maple handle to give you more control and a wider reach when playing with four mallets. In general, wound mallets use cord on the vibraphone mallets and yarn on the marimba mallets. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to get the right sound out of the bars. On glockenspiel, you want a hard plastic mallet, and occasionally a brass-headed mallet for specialty use. For xylophone, you want to use a hard rubber or soft plastic mallet. You should not use hard plastic mallets on rosewood instruments because those may damage the rosewood bars. SBO: That makes sense. Do you have any other words of advice for music educators? NG: I would highly recommend speaking with a local professional

or percussion instructor, and there are also many resources available on the Internet. One of the greatest resources around is the Percussive Arts Society, which is the premier organization for professional percussionists and percussion educators. They have a wealth of resources and information available on their Web site, www.pas.org. Neil Grover has spent 28 years with the Boston Pops. During that time, he has also performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, rock band Aerosmith, on the soundtrack for Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom, and at countless concerts, clinics, and events throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Neil is the author of Four Mallet Primer and Triangle, Tambourine and Cymbal Technique (co-authored with Garwood Whaley), both published by Meredith Music. Neil Grover is also the founder and president of Grover Pro Percussion Inc, which specializes in instruments for the percussion industry whose brands include Grover Pro Percussion, SilverFox drumsticks, and Spectrasound Mark Trees.

CONCERT PERCUSSION

SBO: Among wound mallets, what are some of the various characteristics to be aware of?

Concert Bass Drum Mallets

Timpani Mallets

Chime Mallets

Gong Mallets

Suspended Cymbal Mallets Triangle Beaters

mikebalter.com School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 19


SBOGuest Editorial:

Equipment Logistics

Effective Equipment Logistics for Marching Bands BY NANCY A. CLARK

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he logistical challenges inherent with handling marching band equipment – when met properly – can positively reinforce the excellence and discipline necessary to stage an

award-winning performance on the field. While every marching band program is unique, creativity and coordination are two valuable keys to success.

Creativity: Sharing Ideas, Finding Solutions While competitive on the field, most marching bands have a collegial, team spirit off the field and are willing to share their creative ideas and advice. Other programs can offer invaluable insights. “Since day one, we’ve modified everything I don’t know how many times after seeing how others do it,” comments Wayne Ivers, band director at Marshall High School in Marshall, Minn. In the staging area at competitions, Ivers and his assistants often walk around networking, observing, and asking questions. They request permission to look inside trailers to examine how different groups organize their equipment. To provide flexibility for changing needs, the Marshall band decided not to customize any of their trailer interiors. Last year, their props included seven large backdrops, each 8’ x 18’, along with bases to support them; other years they have had no props.

20 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

Grand Rapids High School in Grand Rapids, Minn., travels with a 40’ trailer featuring E-Tracking along the inside walls, enabling equipment to be tied down or two-byfour lumber to be added as cross beams to create a second level if necessary. Ivers says networking questions can also extend to onfield details; the Marshall band learned to effectively mic their marimbas by asking another band for advice. Many of these parking-lot discussions focus on the creative transportation solutions utilized by marching bands – usually wheeled carts, racks, and other containers. While commercially-made options are available, some bands use solutions that are handmade by either band parents or students. “A lot of our specialty equipment was built by our school’s technical education department,” says Dale Gunderson, band director at Grand Rapids. These technical programs – where students receive hands-on instruction in welding, wood-working, automotive repair or other skills – are often looking for meaningful projects.


“I buy the materials and these kids love to do projects,” notes Gunderson, who believes such cooperation provides valuable cross-curricular benefits. Avon High School in Avon, Ind., has benefitted from hands-on creativity and expertise among its band parents, including adding a second level and built-in mechanical lift to the band’s semi trailer. Other custom solutions built for the Avon band include wheeled uniform boxes, each designed to hold 15 uniforms during both off-season storage and travel. These boxes include space for shoes and several shelves for hats and other miscellaneous items. Avon band director Jay Webb says some of his band parents utilize their expertise working at local firms that manufacture precision auto-racing components. As in auto racing, success in marching band often comes down to the right set of wheels. “We’ve learned that high-quality wheels on all our carts make a big difference,” explains Webb, who says that small, hard wheels do not roll well over varied surfaces such as grass, gravel, dirt, and pavement. Pneumatic tires offer definite advantages. According to Ivers, Marshall’s band ordered a heavy-duty marimba chassis with eight-inch pneumatic tires. “It’s strong and sturdy,” says Ivers, adding that a cart with small, indoor casters might collapse while being moved across uneven or rocky terrain. “We can use these carts indoors or outdoors – we can’t afford to buy two sets of everything,” he notes. Before you purchase any cart or make your own, ensure it’s designed for flexibility. Will its wheels work indoors and outdoors? Can it adjust to suit different sized equipment? Does it fit easily through a three-foot classroom door or inside a 6-foot-high trailer? Ideally, any transport cart should serve double-duty by also providing storage capability. For example, the same cart might hold uniforms in a storage room but also roll outside onto a field, bus, or trailer for competition. This saves time both distributing and collecting equipment.

Coordination: Improving Organization, Promoting Responsibility

Particularly during busy seasons, the challenging cycle of “pack-travelcompete-travel-unpack” demands careful attention to detail. As much as possible, successful marching programs strive to be organized.

“Logistics can be a nightmare,” comments Ivers. “There’s hauling, moving, storing, setting up, taking down – it all can interfere with the performing and teaching.” Ivers says they pack up everything in their trailers by the middle of August to be sure it all fits before hitting the road in September. He adds, “The more times you pack, the better you get at it.”

School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 21


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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Organization is our biggest asset,â&#x20AC;? agrees Gunderson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When chaperones are helping with equipment, we meet with them each weekend to assign specific items to each person, rather than just telling them to grab something.â&#x20AC;? He also says that fostering a strong leadership team of students pays off because the previous yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s section leaders train the new students. Each of Avon High Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s homemade uniform boxes is supervised by one or two â&#x20AC;&#x153;Box Momsâ&#x20AC;? who are responsible for 15 students and their

uniforms. While providing logistical assistance, Webb says â&#x20AC;&#x153;Box Momsâ&#x20AC;? also bond with the students. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They get to know their 15 kids pretty well during the season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a special relationship.â&#x20AC;? Consolidation can benefit the logistics of managing equipment besides uniforms. To improve the handling of electronic components like amplifiers, mixers, and synthesizers, Marshall purchased their own rolling rack system after seeing other bands use the same solution. Ivers says itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a tremendous advantage. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This saves a lot of headaches,â&#x20AC;? he notes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We can organize our electronics and cords much better, just running one large composite cable from the rolling rack out to the performance.â&#x20AC;?

Along with a rolling rack system, reliable electrical power is another important factor for consistent performances, particularly considering the growing use of electronics in the pit area. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whenever weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re running an extension cord to the field, anyone could trip on it and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d lose power,â&#x20AC;? says Gunderson, who is considering buying a new-generation silent generator to eliminate this variable and source of anxiety. Of course, the best and most reliable â&#x20AC;&#x153;powerâ&#x20AC;? for a marching band is the enthusiasm supplied by the students themselves. Most directors recommend harnessing this energy from the first rehearsal, trip or performance. This includes fostering responsibility by insisting that students take charge of their own equipment.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kids need to take ownership,â&#x20AC;? contends Gunderson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Once they enter the working world, nobodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to haul their laptop computer back and forth to work for them.â&#x20AC;? He believes students are fully capable and often have stronger backs than the adults. Until last year, Marshallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s band re-

lied upon its â&#x20AC;&#x153;band staff â&#x20AC;? for logistical support. This group, which consisted of non-playing students and friends, handled most of the loading and unloading. However, Ivers says they were sometimes difficult to manage or count on. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our musicians werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t paying enough attention, so we might get on the field and find weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re missing key equipment because so-and-so from the band staff wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t there to make it happen,â&#x20AC;? recalls Ivers. To avoid such problems, he introduced a new rule: â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;If you play it, you pack it.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; So far, this policy has worked out well, and he believes musicians are more careful with their own instruments. How much equipment is being handled varies among programs, of course, although most directors agree that elaborate props seem to be less common today at competitions across the Midwest. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the 1990s, sets and props were pretty big,â&#x20AC;? recalls Webb. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m seeing more pit equipment and elec-

tronics, with fewer props.â&#x20AC;? Webb says his band has used very little props lately and been successful â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Avon won the Bands of America Grand National Championship in 2008. Trends may come and go, but logistical challenges are a constant theme for marching band programs. The precision teamwork exhibited on the field requires comparable behind-the-scenes planning and thoughtfully designed equipment. Through creative solutions and coordinated efforts, successful marching band programs can always develop their own winning formula. Nancy A. Clark is a product manager with the Wenger Corporation of Owatonna, Minn., which manufactures specialty equipment and furniture for music education and the performing arts. She can be reached at nancy.clark@wengercorp.com.

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SBOCommentary: Armed Forces

Salute the Troops BY BOB SPIEGELMAN

W

hether at a parade, a formal ceremony, or a concert, it is likely that at one time or another you will have a group perform at an event to honor the men and women of the Armed Forces. In

fact, in many communities, the school music program is the only organization that can provide this very special service. Throughout the last 16 years, our music students have participated in many such events. Each time, our students have come away with a deeper appreciation of their opportunities and freedoms, and a better understanding of what it means to sacrifice for your country.

26 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

Unfortunately, the crowds at these gatherings are often sparse and devoid of many young people. Perhaps a reason for this poor attendance might be reflected in a recent Gallup Poll, which revealed that only 28 percent of Americans knew the original intent of Memorial Day! Another reason for poor attendance could simply be that everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives are busier these days and attending these ceremonial activities isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t high on the list of priorities. With this in mind, it becomes apparent that encouraging attendance of a Veteranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Parade on a cold November morning or a Memorial ceremony on a day off of school or work may not be the best way to assemble a large number people who wish to show their appreciation. Three years ago, in a small effort to


pay tribute to those who served, we began playing a medley of Armed Forces songs as part of the prelude concert at our school’s graduation ceremony. A brief statement outlining the history of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday was read prior to the performance. We then asked all veterans, active duty, reservists, and enlistees to stand as the song from their branch of the armed forces was played. At the conclusion of the medley, the audience stood and gave them a rousing and heartfelt ovation!

for so many? This simple gesture – which can only be provided by a music group, will unite your largest community audience of the year, your administration, and new graduates in a way that will bring special meaning to your school’s ceremony and extraordinary, well deserved recognition to the Armed Forces, your students, and to you!

Bob Spiegelman is currently Director of Bands at Lindbergh High School in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Missouri and has taught in the St. Louis area for 28 years.

“At the conclusion of the medley, the audience stood and gave them a rousing and heartfelt ovation!” With such a great response, the school administration asked that the medley be moved to the main part of the graduation ceremony for the following year. In addition, our principal contacted all the Armed Forces recruiting stations serving our school district and requested that a representative from each military branch be part of this new tradition. They all showed up and marched in wearing their full dress uniforms and carrying their service branch flag. It was an amazing display of pageantry, community pride, patriotism, and gratitude. Perhaps dedicating those five minutes in a graduation ceremony can be our finest, longest lasting gifts as educators. What better way to spontaneously teach everyone the significance of Memorial Day? What better lesson to impart to our graduates at the last teachable moment? What’s it worth to see your students look into the eyes of our active duty, reservists, and veterans to see how special this recognition and appreciation is to them? As music educators, we always talk about how important it is to make a difference in one person’s life. How true! But how often do we get a chance to make a difference School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 27


UpClose: Jay Webb

a Commitment to

Excellence BY ELIAHU SUSSMAN


What exactly is it that makes a high school music program great? Is the success of a schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s band or orchestra measured through victories at national competitions? Or is it found in something less tangible, such as a programâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to providing the very best opportunities for its students?

School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 29


At Avon (Ind.) High School, take your pick. The school’s bands are the reigning champions of such prestigious events as the Bands of America Grand National Championships and the Winter Guard International World Championships. Yet, according to Avon band director Jay Webb, being successful isn’t all about winning; it’s achieved by sticking to that ever-so-basic philosophy of being the best that you can possibly be at whatever it is you do. Don’t settle for anything less than being the best, trying the hardest, and making the most out of every opportunity you

one’s accomplishments can only truly be measured by matching up against the very best on that national stage. SBO recently sat down with Jay Webb to talk about what it means to have a commitment to excellence, and the motivation behind it all: the significance of competing at the highest level – both for him and his students. School Band & Orchestra: Would you mind sharing a bit about your own musical background?

“Kids can do pretty much anything you can teach them.” earn. This sounds simple – these concepts are hardly revolutionary – yet few educators have the drive, desire, and resources to take a program to the national level. And according to Webb,

30 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

Jay Webb: My dad played guitar and my grandfather led the singing in church. There was a piano in my grandmother’s house and I used to bang around


on it. I was just naturally driven towards music. In school, I began playing when I was in junior high, in Orlando, Florida. I started out on saxophone, then switched to trumpet, and then switched to percussion, all within about a one-year period. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to play, but once I got into percussion, I was pretty much hooked on that. In high school, I played in just about everything: marching band, concert band, I played sax in the jazz band, I played trumpet in another concert band, played percussion in the top band. What really got me going in band, though, was joining the Florida Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corp. When I started playing with that group, my outlook on everything really changed. SBO: How so? JW: It’s just that it was so exciting and so discipline-oriented; there was

– that level of detail was something I’d never seen before, and I really bought into doing it. From there, that really propelled my career. Once I graduated from high school, I wanted to march in really a top-notch level corps, so I ended up moving to Bayonne, New Jersey to join the Bridgemen Drum Corps. They were one of the DCI elite corps at that time. I was there until I was 21 and that experience really changed who I was. SBO: At what point did you start thinking about being an educator?

something about that that appealed to me. Watching the drums move in unison, the sticking, the hands, the rudiments, the technique that was necessary

JW: I probably first thought about it in seventh grade, and then didn’t think about it again until I was 24. [laughs] When I was 24, I was in Bloomington, Indiana. I’d been recruited to come here and teach the drum corps. Things fell through after a couple of years, and I really had to

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take assessment of what my life was like, and think about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. Playing in the drum corps, just traveling around the country and performing, wasn’t really a life that I could sustain. So I decided to go to college and pursue a music degree. I started at Butler University, in Indianapolis, studying Music Ed. For a while I thought I wanted to play in an orchestra somewhere and teach college, but when I was getting close to graduating, I was about to turn 30, I realized that I’d prepared myself to be in this life as a teacher. I was ready to do it, so I just kind of took the plunge. My first job was at Sheridan High School, in Sheridan, Indiana. SBO: Can you tell me about that experience? JW: It was a JR/SR program, and a very small high school. They’d had some success in their marching band program, but when I got there, there were only about 23 kids participating. We went to a contest, and probably were not very strong. I made a few mistakes, but I was able to learn through trial and error. I also spent a lot of time talking to some of my mentors. One of my biggest supporters was Tom Dirks from Center Grove High School, where I had taught the drum line for six years while I was in college. Working with Tom, I really learned a lot about how to run a program. At Sheridan, I started trying to emulate those things I saw at Center Grove. During my second year, we had 45 kids in the band, did pretty well, and came close to making the state finals. The year after I left, the program ended up making state finals; I think they finished fifth. I was pretty pleased with what I was able to start building there, even though I didn���t really finish it.

When the Avon job became open, it was one of the two schools that I was looking at. SBO: What was the Avon band program like when you arrived? JW: Basically, all of the band, guard, and percussion students met in one class, during first period. There were about 100 kids, total, and they all took marching band at the same time. That first year, we ended up getting what we

consider a division 2 at the regional level. The people that were here before me were trying to build more of a jazz program and, in doing so, they were really de-emphasizing marching band and concert band. My goals were to revitalize those areas. I was hired specifically to bring the marching band back to the prominent position that it had enjoyed in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Bob Row, the man who hired me, had been at Avon for 25 years. At one

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SBO: What prompted you to move on? JW: Sheridan was really kind of a rural community, and I’m more of a city kid. It was hard for me to just exist out there, so I was looking for a school that I might be able to build a little bigger. Sheridan is still a very small school, 20 years later. I wanted to go somewhere where I could build a program in the manner of Center Grove.

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time, it had been a small farm school that had over 225 kids in the band program – just a gigantic percentage of the school population, maybe 40 or 50 percent of the student body participated in the band. They really wanted to get back to that level of notoriety and public image.

developing a staff that could meet the needs of the students and the program.

SBO: So what were your first steps toward rebuilding that culture?

JW: For one, our facilities have been a big part of it. Avon is one of the fastest growing communities in the Midwest. Our facilities were way behind the times, but since I’ve been here, we’ve built a new high school, and more recently a new Fine Arts wing. We’ve been very successful at amassing instruments and uniforms, the infrastructure of the band program. It’s also critical to have the kids and their parents buy into the need for really top-level designers and instructors. That really has made the biggest difference: we have some of the best designers in the country right here at Avon. With the instructional staff we have in place, our students are getting a world-class experience.

JW: It was really trying to initiate a pride in our own product, a commitment to excellence. I split the concert band into two groups meeting at the same time, and I had the choir teacher help me out. I’d give him specific information about what I wanted during each class. I had an assistant, too, and we worked with the junior high school program. We would have someone come in and instruct the color guard, and I was also teaching the drum line. I was kind of going crazy until I was finally able to convince the administration to split the marching band class into four separate classes, so I could start teaching properly and meeting the needs of the kids. It was a learning experience for everybody. I had a vision of what I wanted us to be, and I had to sell my vision to the band boosters, the parents, the kids, and our administration. Fortunately, they were very supportive in those day as far as helping me try to teach them how things should be. Once the program started on the right track, and it took a few years, then the band really started to grow. It wasn’t until my fifth year that we actually were successful and qualified for the state marching band competition. SBO: It seems that sometimes it can take quite a few years to build a program up to the level that a director envisions when they start at a school. What is it that takes so long? Is it just sowing the seeds in the student body? JW: That is one aspect, sowing interest among the students, and another is creating the necessary resources to maintain a great program. One of my biggest challenges today is what we call “feeding the monster”: providing the resources needed to sustain this kind of a program. It takes a long time to convince and educate administrators about your needs and the necessary tools that fit into the realm of your school culture and environment. Also, you have to get the kids to buy into the level of work ethic and commitment. Kids can do pretty much anything you teach them. If you can teach it, they can do it. It took us a while to teach the kids exactly what they were capable of doing. The other critical step was 34 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

SBO: What are some of the specific resources that you had to put into place in order to get the band program up to speed?

SBO: Speaking of that worldclass experience, what are your goals with the program? JW: I really have a national perspective of what a band program can be, and what we’re trying to do is be world class in every area of our program. I would love to run a concert band that plays like Marcus High School in Texas and a percussion ensemble that’s as good as any one in the country, like the ones in California. SBO: Besides the obvious of “It’s great to be great,” what are the primary benefits of being on the national stage? JW: I think it comes down to a little bit about who I am. When I was in high school, I remember hearing about MBA (Marching Bands of America), only there were no schools in Florida that participated in it. I talked to my band director at the time and asked him why we couldn’t do something like that. He replied, “Oh, you don’t want to do that; it’s way too much work.” That comment sat with me for a long time. When I started playing with the Bridgemen, we were able to do some incredible things from a standpoint of being the best at what you are in the activity. In those days, we were trying to be the best drum line in the world, the best in the drum corps arena. I learned some things: in particular, why not aspire to achieve the best that is possible? That’s why we’re involved in the Bands of America and that’s why we’re involved in Winter Guard International; that’s why we send tapes to the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic. It’s all because I want my kids to have a world-class experience in everything that we do. That’s really what my


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Avon High School Marching Band at a Glance Location: 7575 E County Road 150 S, Avon, Ind. On the Web: www.avonband.com Students at Avon High School: 2390 Students in the music department: 350 Ensembles and Participating Students Marching band: 250 Wind Ensemble: 60 Two Jazz bands: 50 Four concert bands: 180 Two guards: 51 Two drum lines: 70 Recent Notable Accomplishments Seven-time State Champions for Marching Band BOA Grand National Champions 2008 Winner of the Sudler Shield for Marching Band 2007 WGI World Champion 2009 – World Guard World Guard State Champions for 2002 – 2009 WGI National Champions for World Drum line 2002

36 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

philosophy is. And the only way to assess how are doing is to find the very best programs in the country and see how we stack up against them. SBO: So you’re in favor of competition in music education, then? JW: I feel really strongly about this: competition is one of the greatest things that we teach kids. I have never shunned away from it; I have always embraced it. It is up to educators to keep it focused on the positive, and it is my responsibility to promote a system of excellence, work ethic, and dedication that creates an end product our students can be proud of. And the kids have been proud of the end product every single year, even as that product kept developing over time. Although the product has changed pretty dramatically over the years, the students’ experience has stayed pretty consistent. On Facebook and other Web sites, I get in touch with past band members and it’s always interesting to see how they’ve grown and developed and the things that they have taken with them from the band program beyond just music. It’s absolutely critical that we not only embrace competition but also teach it correctly and not get wrapped up in trophies or first place finishes, but in the process of a commitment to excellence. That process is what changes kids.


SBO: Thinking along those lines, as an educator, how do you measure success? JW: I measure success in different

ways. I get to see those kids for a very important four-year span in their lives, from ages 14 to 18. For the most part, I try to assist my students with the process of maturing, finding their voice, discovering who they are, and learning about themselves and how to interact with each other. I usually interview every prospective band member before he or she joins the program so I can get to know him or her a little bit. Success comes for me when I look in their eyes during the last weekend I see them – on senior night, at graduation, or the last weekend of the school year – and I see how they’ve changed since the first time I saw them in my office their freshman year. That’s where I measure success. Sure, my band room has a ton of trophies in it, we have all kinds of banners, and we’ve had all kinds of success, but that’s just an end product to doing things that we believe in – trying to be world class in everything that we do.

the very top educators in the country. Dean Westman has been a part of our staff, he’s from Texas, Stephen F. Austin, and he’s now the orchestra director here at Avon. Matt Harloff, who’s the captain head for the Carolina Crowns, is my assistant director. These are fulltime staff members. We have some fantastic talent and experience in our instructional staff. Our kids get some of the best teaching possible, as far as the marching arts are concerned. SBO: There must be logistical complications with a faculty of that size. How do you handle it? JW: Basically, what I learned from Tom Dirks at Center Grove was to surround yourself with great people, give them the resources they need to do their jobs, and just let them do it. I’ve followed that idea, and it’s been fantastic getting everyone involved because we have a great working relationship and we all trust each other throughout the process. We each have our specific areas of expertise, but we’re all work-

ing towards the common goal, which is achieving our potential. SBO: What do you hope pops into the minds of your former students when they think of your band program 10 or 15 years after they’ve moved on? JW: I’m sure if you asked my former students about me, they would say, “That guy was crazy!” [laughs] But once we got past the funny stories and the good times, I’m hoping they’d talk about the way I taught them to be respectful of themselves, the environment, of each other, and the opportunities that we have. I’ve always treated music as a tool to reach kids that might not be reached in other ways. And I hope that through my teaching, my students will have gained a lifelong appreciation of music, but I also hope that they’ve gained a lifelong appreciation of life, and living your life to the fullest. Because that’s what we do at Avon: We go full out all the time, give 100 percent. That’s what it’s all about.

SBO: Last November, you won the Bands of America National Championship, and your program received the highest overall score ever given out in the finals. What can you tell me about the process of putting together a show of that magnitude? JW: It’s really a team effort. I have a visual consultant, Danny Wiles, who’s been with me now for 12 years. I really trust his instincts. Jay Bocook, a very famous arranger, arranges our music. We have visual writers who come in and assist with various aspects of the program. SBO: Are those folks on staff, fulltime? JW: They’re basically consultants, although Danny Wiles runs our color guard program, which has also had a tremendous amount of success. He’s basically in charge of the visual component, which is one of the elements that propelled our scores at Grand Nationals and other achievements that we’ve experienced in the past few years. Those are just a few people – we have a great staff of about 20 that all work together, and they are some of School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 37


SBOReport: Drill Writing

Designing A Marching Band Field Show

W

hether for the halftime show of a high school football game or for panel of judges at a national competition, a marching band field show combines several critical elements to entertain, inspire, and engage audiences. The coordinated combination of music pageantry should be designed to create a unified presentation of a musical, visual,

conceptual, or abstract theme. Every band director and his or her staff will have a slightly different process when it comes to building a show, but the basic steps of planning and design, implementation, and execution remain fairly constant. SBO recently caught up with three experienced and successful drill writers who shed some light on the process when putting together a field show, from conceptualization to the finished product.

Brainstorming Charles “Chip” Richter, a freelance drill designer and associate band director at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, Texas, begins by brainstorming music. “The first step of designing a show isn’t even a formal step,” he explains. “We sit down as a staff and start listening to different music that we like. For next year’s marching season, we already started listening last fall. Right after marching season ends, we get together and talk about what we liked from that year’s show, how various things we did affected the audience or the judges, and come up for goals of what we want to do the following year. At that point, we can start putting those thoughts together with the musical

“At that point, the music starts to take over the design.” ideas that we’ve got rolling around in our heads. Really, it’s not until about January that we start getting serious about moving forward in a particular direction as far as what we’re going to do the following year.” Once Richter and his colleagues have come up with a few ideas, they solidify their planning. “In January or February, the head band director and I will sit down and share ideas, whether those are themes or specific music. The last few years, we have focused more on our home crowd. Often, bands get caught up in trying to be heady or surreal in order to appease judges, but we have decided that while we’re going to do whatever we can to be musical and effective for the judges, we really want to 38 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


The Broken Arrow Marching Band in formation.

concentrate on our home crowd. So we’ve done shows based on R&B music the last few years, and our crowd has really gotten in to it.” Performing for an audience of Division I college football fans, Jeremy Pratchard, the associate director of bands at the University of Arkansas, has a slightly different agenda when thinking about the following season’s shows. “The concept is the first thing we have to figure out,” notes Pratchard. “We have to decide what

kinds of shows are going to meet our needs. A collegiate band like what we have here at the University of Arkansas will do four or five shows each season, depending on the schedule. We try to choose show concepts that will be appealing to college football fans in the stands, but at the same time give good, practical lab experience for our music education students. Balancing those two criteria is really one of the trickiest aspects. We try to present a diverse cross-section of styles.”

Darrin Davis, the marching band coordinator for Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School and a drill writer with over 17 years of experience, uses two distinct methods to design a show: either building music around a theme or developing a theme around specific music. “We’ve taken two drastically different approaches that have both been successful for Broken Arrow High School,” says Davis. “One is that we’ve come up with a character-driven concept of what we want to see or

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what we want to portray and then we match musical ideas or motifs to further illustrate that concept. The other is that we just pick good music for good music’s sake and then develop a visual program that portrays the music appropriately.” Davis continues, “What has worked for us and what fits our character and what we like to portray can be as literal as a person or a figure in time, or a concept of a time period. From a designer standpoint, how I view the design process, each year is extremely unique so we let whatever circumstances we find ourselves in dictate to us what the needs may be or what the show’s program is going to be. For example, a year ago, we thought we were going to do build a show around an old famous movie actress. When we began working with the students in our band and color guard, we noticed that they were really good at specific performance skills. So we evolved the

show away from that character we had initially selected to being more about what the students naturally excelled at – which in this case happened to be a model walk. So we ended up building the show around the theme of runway models. We definitely want to play to the strengths of our students and also infuse those strengths with our personal preferences while trying to create something fresh and unique.”

From Inspiration to Design

The flexibility to allow a show to develop naturally is key. Chip Richter uses a process of repetition for inspiration. “Rather than come up with a theme or a story line, I let the music write the drill,” he says. “I listen to the music over and over again, and as I’m listening to it for about the hundredth time – literally – then I’ll actually start to break down the count structure. That’s when I put “My mantra is that I want my kids to marks where I think a 16-count move might look great playing and sound great work, where a stand marching.” still needs to happen, where we’ll need to drop in a percussion break, or when there needs to be a big guard hit where they need to be integrated into the band or featured out front. At that point, the music starts to take over the design.” Making the initial score marks can be among the most painstaking aspects of designing drill. Richter notes, “Sometimes getting that first page done might take a week. What kind of look do I want the audience to see before we ever play a note? It’s got to look great. And I’ve also got to decide what the music looks like in the beginning: is it expanding? Is it in your face? Is it quiet? What is it?”

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Once that decision has been made, it’s important to proceed carefully. Richter tries to stay two or three sets of whatever he’s writing at the time. “For example,” he continues, “if I’m writing something flowy, then I have to think, ‘where’s my next big hit?’ This means being aware of what’s happening 32 or 48 counts ahead of time, trying to figure out how I’m going to maneuver everyone so that they are where they need to be for those critical moments. I have to come up with something that is visually appealing and has a motion that works, but ultimately gets those people where they need to be. That’s really important and, in some respects, it’s more staging than anything else. I figure out where my staging moments are and what I want them to look like, and then I spend the rest of the time filling in the gaps in between those moments.” Jeremy Pratchard also starts his planning by looking at the peaks in the music: “Once I sit down and start writing drill, I begin by figuring out where our big hit points are within the show and try to get a nice storyboard mapped out, beginning to end, and where the climax is, and how the show is going unfold. Then we try to put transitions together that are going to make the whole story evident throughout the drill. Once we’ve got all of that down, it’s a mater of getting into the music itself and finding how the music lines up within our storyboard – going through phrasal analysis of the piece itself and trying to find the big moments where we’re really going to get some crowd interaction. In the collegiate atmosphere, we want as many moments as possible where the crowd is going to ooh and aah. We’re trying to elicit as frequent a response as possible.” Pratchard then tries to keep it simple. “Everything I design drill-wise takes students in a straight line path,” he notes. “If you can’t go straight, don’t go at all. That makes transitions so much smoother for us, if students can just go from point to point. At the same time, they have to realize that it’s not all about the dots, because those are just singular counts within the piece, but we’re talking about what the


transition is like between the dots, because that’s what makes up the visual content.” The other concern Pratchard must contend with is logistical in nature. “With 320 or more people on the field at one time, space can be a serious concern so when I’m coming up with the visual design, I do everything I can to use space efficiently and also to convey velocity,” he says. “I achieve this through step size or by making smart staging decisions so that the audience’s attention is where I want it to be during the show.” Darrin Davis and the staff at Broken Arrow take a similar approach at this step in the process. “We look at the timeline of the big moments in the music and plan what we want to see and what we want to accomplish visually at those points,” Davis explains. “That allows us to go back and fill in the blanks when we have a more complete outline of what we want to see later in the process. From there, it’s literally the nuts of and bolts of using the charting software to put the ideas together and make sure that they’re married from an artistry standpoint. It’s critical to make sure that what you see on the field corresponds to what you hear, and what you hear makes sense with what you are seeing.”

point, eschewing the graphing paper approach in favor of sophisticated technology that facilitates visualizing drill maneuvers, synchronizing them with music, and much more. “I’m not one of the pencil and paper guys,” avers Chip Richter. “I graduated college in 1996, and when I was studying drill in class, we spent half the time with pencil and paper, figuring out algorithms, and the other half using Advantage, which was the drill design software program at the time. We spent time figuring out how many people can fit around a certain sized circle and the mathematics of all that. My second year teaching in high school was the when I designed

my first show, and by that time Pyware 3D had basically taken over. It is such an effective tool that I’m able to play around and look at pictures on the screen as if I’m drawing them out by hand. Using that software, I can configure a move and it’ll tell me what the step size would be, so I can see if my kids will be able to perform the maneuver while playing their instruments or if I need to adjust the picture. It allows me to monitor what every student is doing and make sure that what I have planned is going to work for each person in the band. My mantra is that I want my kids to look great playing and sound great marching. We want to be able to do both.”

Fill in the Blanks With the primary “hits” or “staging moments” decided upon, the next step is to come up with choreography that fill in all the points in between. Chip Richter, Jeremy Pratchard and Darrin Davis all turn to software at this School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 43


The University of Arkansas Razorback Marching Band.

The alternative to using software, according to Richter, is cumbersome, at best. “The other option is to put your band on the field and just move the band members around, one at a time, saying, ‘Then you go here and you go here,’ until it all works out. Some directors can make that work, but I just can’t. I see that as not an effective way, for me at least.” Darrin Davis keeps his options open,

using the software only as a rough guide to preliminary ideas. Maintaining flexibility when the students start to work out the design on the field is also important to make sure that the show has enough energy and flare. “As much planning as we do, once you put it all to work on the field, you always want to keep monitoring and adjusting,” Davis says. “Sometimes we end up going in a different direction once

we see it on the field. You can visualize what it will look like – the charting software is very powerful and it will let you produce an animation of what you’re going to get before you actually teach it to the students – so we already know that what we chart for the students is going to work, but for that extra bit of coordination, that pizzazz, whatever, you always make adjustments so that those moments that stand out are as powerful as they can be.”

Show and Tell One of the major benefits of modern technology is to be able to simulate a completed performance. “I’m able to upload my completed drill, including music synced up to a completed animation of drill transitions,” says the University of Arkansas’ Jeremy Pratchard. “The students can download a viewer and watch the simulation online, just like I see it on my computer. When I design the drill, the last step is to assign each of the dots in the simulation by position (Horn 3, for example) so the students can click on their instrument and their parts will be highlighted, allowing students to see exactly where and how they are supposed to move around during the show.” The latest versions of drill design software offer new possibilities for sharing show designs with students. “From first rehearsal,” says Pratchard, detailing the evolution of the technology, “we’ll pass out coordinate sheets to everyone in the band. We used to copy the actual drill sets and pass those out to everyone, but that was extremely 44 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


cost prohibitive, especially for bigger shows that had many sets. When we changed the software we use, it made things much easier because now we can print out sets in quarter-page size and the kids can know exactly where they are supposed to be at any given time. We laminate those smaller printouts, punch a hole through them, and put them on a lanyard, so the students can wear them around their neck during rehearsal. We have done away with the notebooks and three-ring binders that we used to use. This new system eliminates a lot of the debate on the field about where everyone is supposed to be, and that allows rehearsals to progress much more efficiently.â&#x20AC;? Before Chip Richter and presents the show to the Alief Taylor marching band, they first prepare the field. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We go out before we ever start introducing anything to the students and make a four-step grid across the entire football field, marked by dots (every four steps),â&#x20AC;? explains Richter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We use fluorescent marking paint to mark coordinates over the existing football lines, and that really helps the students visualize where they are supposed to be when they can see the field as a graph.â&#x20AC;? Once the field has been properly marked, the students are given either drill charts, coordinates on the field, or both. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of times, students have a hard time visualizing what the entire picture is supposed to look like, so what we really like to do is give each student a set of coordinates and then give the section leaders actual charts, so they can make sure that everything looks the way itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s supposed to on the field.â&#x20AC;? The Pride of Broken Arrow rehearses in a stadium with Astroturf, so Darrin Davis has had to devise a non-permanent method of marking the field. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We put down poker chips,â&#x20AC;? confides Davis. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every student will have four different colored poker chips, and we lay them out in order of where their first four set points will be, from lightest color to darkest. So we can put four different pages of drill on the field at any one time. If we put more than that on the field, it gets pretty confusing, so we stick to four sets at a time.â&#x20AC;?

Closing Moments Moving from the design process to some of the more basic elements of teaching and rehearsing drill, Darrin Davis recommends teaching the fundamentals at the beginning of each year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We educate kids on how to read a drill chart every year,â&#x20AC;? says Davis. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I always assume that my students are complete beginners, even though I have some veterans every year. We

go through the same initial steps in what I call my â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Drill Class.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; We do this because I believe that you can teach things halfway several times and still not get the results you want, or you can slow down, take a little bit of extra time and really get the fundamentals down, so that the students learn it right. We start pretty slowly, but I find that as the season moves along, the students get much more experienced about how drill works, so we end up

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moving faster and faster as the season progresses.” The other piece of advice that Darrin gives is to keep an eye on the big picture. “It’s important not to get so caught up in the minute details that you lose the big picture of what’s happening on the field,” he notes. “Don’t get so caught up in specific moves or musical parts that you lose a sense of coordination between all of the elements. It all has to work together; the director has to be responsible for the entire package.” Chip Richter agrees, acknowledging that getting caught up in the details can have an adverse effect on the overall show. “I probably spend a little bit too much time trying to make every picture look nice,” admits Richter. “One thing that took me a long time to learn as a drill writer is that if you’re going ‘16, 16, 16,’ and you’re not going ‘16, hold, 16, hold, 16, hold,’ then every set happens so quickly that the audience and the judges aren’t going to dwell on those images. It’s important to concentrate on the motion, and really pick the spots to speed up and slow down the movement.” Jeremy Pratchard, meanwhile, stresses the importance of building a solid base of drill knowledge. “Nothing beats being able to develop the vocabulary for whatever transitions you are going to design by watching good drill and finding designers that you feel have a good style that you might want to emulate,” declares Pratchard. “Study drill the way you might study the English language. Young children learn language by imitating what their parents say; it’s the same thing with drill design. Look and see what works, what people are using, and then use that to develop your own vocabulary and your own expression. Once you have that, the only thing limiting you is your own creativity and your own vocabulary.”

46 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


SBORoundtable:

Uniforms and Footwear

Balancing Comfort, Style, & Image

A

nyone who has experienced the excitement of watching a marching band understands that the visual aspect of the experience can be almost as important as the music that’s being played. While first-rate choreography is a

key element of any field performance, the design and feel of the uniforms can have an equally huge impact on the ensemble’s presentation. Uniforms create an image for a band. Whether they are flashy, ornate, or subtle, one could say that the uniform makes the band. SBO recently checked in with some educators who have years of experience outfitting bands. Read on as they share their experiences, along with some helpful advice.

What is the most important element that you look for in a uniform? Keith Rutledge: I think the key to a good uniform is the quality in the construction. I want to know that the uniform will hold up over the years. Support from the uniform company is also very important. Marc Mueller: The fit. We put a lot of emphasis on having the kids not look dumpy, so flexibility in design to try to create a slim look was desirable. Secondly, we wanted the thing to stay put as much as possible. If a student lifts his or her arm up, we wanted the jacket to stay as still as possible. You also have to think about how the uniforms will hold up over time. Can they be cleaned easily? Will they move on a musical athlete or will they be cumbersome? In the South, they must breathe. Brett Johnson: How it makes the band look on the field. In other words, it isn’t as important how the uniform looks on an individual - the most important visual element is how the totality of the band looks from the field. It’s also important to make sure the uniforms will wear well and look great during their entire cycle and are not made of fabric that will oppress the students on a hot day. David Niemeyer: I like uniforms that use traditional flair such as the traditional shako, plume, and even some basic elements like a gauntlet and baldric. However, when you take these items and add a more cutting edge to it, maybe a different type of button, or different angles and colors, it adds a cutting edge to it. I like our current uniform because I believe

48 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


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it combined some of these elements. Although I think our uniform could have been even more cutting edge. Our uniform is in the DeMouline product catalog. It is blue and gold with a W on the right chest. The Carolina Crown uniform is a good example of what I like. Design is the most important element. Chris Miller: The design and features are most important, because I want the group to be recognized as soon as they step off of the bus. Identity and visibility are key to a good uniform. The features that are important include the sash or epaulets, something that makes it stand out from another school that might have a similar uniform. I feel that the identity of the group and how they look while marching is most important. I want people to know who we are when they see us, but I don’t want identification marks to detract form the execution. Writing names of schools on the back of the uniform is fine, but if students don’t execute a proper slide then they are easily picked out in performance. The same goes for stripes down the trousers. Practicality doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. The companies seem to have gotten a real handle on that. I also look for quality and durability. John Abucewicz: They have to be eye-catching. I want people to think they look sharp. Cost is always a factor as well. John Arata: The overall appearance of the band is important. Having a representative who can help with the design phase is critical. Finding a company who can assist with designing a quality uniform and who will be able to provide continuous service over the years when placements or fill-ins are required is very important. Most of the companies have made their uniforms very practical, so the appearance is, by far, the main thing. Andy Walters: Design is very important. The uniform needs to fit a number of body types with a look that is current and will also allow the band to look as clean as possible. Cost and the reputation of the company purchasing from is also a big part of it. We want a company that will stand behind their product. I think 50 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

Keith Rutledge Band Director & Music Coordinator Siloam Springs High School Siloam Springs, Ark. Keith Rutledge has been a band director for 30 years. Marc Mueller Director of Bands Moore HS Moore, Okla. Marc Mueller has been the director of instrumental arts at Moore High School for 19 years. Brett Johnson Band Director The Woodlands High School The Woodlands, Texas David Niemeyer Band Director Warren High School Downey, Calif. David Niemeyer is the director of marching band, wind ensemble, concert band, two jazz ensembles, and teaches AP Music Theory. Chris Miller Director of Bands Francis Howell High School St. Charles, Mo. John Abucewicz Band Director Bristol Central High School Bristol, Conn.

you have to choose a band uniform that looks good close up and from far away. Uniforms with small lettering or indistinct patterns may look good from three feet away, but as soon as you step back from the design, it can seem “unclean” from far away. Also, with items like capes and other lapels, these can make a band appear “unclean” in the wind. I try to design uniforms that are simple with clean lines, much like modern automotive design. School colors are appropriate for displaying school pride, but a design that is overly complicated can date a band and their uniforms. One should try to be as generic and clean as possible in design in my opinion. Also,

John Arata Band Director Eureka High School Eureka, Mo. Andy Walters Director of Bands Lewis Central High School Council Bluffs, Iowa Andy Walters has been director of bands at Lewis Central High School since 2006 and is currently the president-elect for the Southwest Iowa Bandmasters Association. Dr. W. David Spencer Director of Bands Huntsville High School Huntsville, Ala. Dr. W. David Spencer has been a music educator for 31 years. Ryan Kelly Director of Bands Lincoln High School Tallahassee, Fla. Ryan Kelly is the director of bands at Lincoln High School and is a former head drum major of the Florida State University Marching Chiefs. Joel Carlson Instrumental Music Teacher Mira Costa High School Manhattan Beach, Calif.

the less stuff on a uniform, the more cost effective it is. Dr. W. David Spencer: I look for simplicity and style in a uniform. They should never be faddish. When wearing red, white, and blue, visibility is not an issue. So we tend to focus on style, and practicality. Ryan Kelly: When it comes to our uniforms, we look for a visually aesthetic appeal with a distinctive memorable signature or quality that stays in the mind of our audience after the band has left the field—something that other uniforms don’t have. Quality of


construction and durability is also important. Our uniforms last us approximately 10 years because we purchase high quality uniforms that don’t fade or tear, even with all the use they get. There are many ways to achieve a creative and individual appearance to our uniforms while balancing the needs of budget and quality. I think quality must come first, and then flexibility in the design process, between the uniform company and me, in order to achieve a look that satisfies our budget. Joel Carlson: We look for design, individuality, and the ability to make the wearer look stronger – bold simplicity. Durability and construction quality are also important when it comes to uniforms. How are uniform purchases funded, and what is your normal budget? Keith Rutledge: Our uniforms are funded with the district budget. The budget depends on the bid for uniforms.

Marc Mueller: Our last uniforms were a part of an Oklahoma City tax called MAPS. After that, they are school bond issued. Color Guard uniforms are all we buy and usually cost about $3,000, but obviously dependant upon size of

David Niemeyer: The band boosters and I are in charge of purchasing uniforms. We have a savings account that we contribute to every now and then. We estimate that we will spend about $50,000 on uniforms every time we purchase,

“The overall appearance of the band is important. Having a representative who can help with the design phase is critical. Finding a company who can assist with designing a quality uniform and who will be able to provide continuous service over the years when placements or fill-ins are required is very important.” John Arata the guard. We usually do not have a very large guard. Brett Johnson: Our uniforms are funded through our school district. The budget for uniforms is determined through a bid process. There is a process in place to re-uniform every band at eight year intervals.

which is every five to 10 years, depending on funds and durability of uniform. Chris Miller: Generally uniforms are funded through the district, and we have to fight for every uniform we get. They don’t like to give more than the exact number that you will need for that year,

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since they don’t have a clue how it works. The budget depends on how many I am requesting. We purchase new uniforms every 10 or 12 years. John Abucewicz: Through Board of Education funds, capital expenditures. These were budgeted over the last two years. There is no set budget for them. I needed them and spent two years preparing the Board for them through our supervisor. I just got new uniforms this year. I believe the previous uniforms were about 15 years old.

band parent by-laws mandate that we put $4,200 aside each year into a uniform CD account. This will guarantee at least $42,000, plus interest, in 10 years. If that is not enough money, our school board will loan us the difference at no interest. We try to purchase at least 150 uniforms. Ryan Kelly: Unfortunately, our school district eliminated funding for

“A supplier who keeps things in stock is important. We use a supplier that always has them and gets them to us fast. Price is a real deal breaker as kids pay for their own shoes.” Marc Mueller, Moore, Okla.

John Arata: Our district purchases uniforms. We are fortunate to have a district. The uniforms cost on average $300 each. Andy Walters: Our school booster club contributes to a fund each year. The budget for our last purchase was $80,000. Next time it will probably be closer to $100,000, as costs will go up. Dr. W. David Spencer: We purchase uniforms every eight to 10 years. Our

uniform cycle is somewhat unpredictable because we lost a big source of revenue from our school district. Annually, we budget approximately $10,000 to cover dry cleaning and necessary purchase of replacement items such as hats, plumes, and pants (we utilize a plain black trouser that permits us to replace them as necessary without affecting the jackets).

uniform purchases, so our entire cost will be funded by boosters, alumni, and outside contributors. Our current marching uniforms are approximately nine years old, and we are in the process of planning for our next purchase. Our budget for this next

Joel Carlson: Uniforms are funded through our booster organization. When it comes to cost, our goal is a well-designed, durable uniform, at a reasonable cost. Our last uniform purchase totaled $50,000. We get new uniforms about once every eight or 10 years.

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Do you prefer wash and wear uniforms or ones that need professional dry cleaning? Keith Rutledge: I think wash and wear is the way to go. If you take care of them, they are a smarter use of funds. Marc Mueller: I prefer wash and wear, but they must be made well. Personally, I’m afraid to wash them. We dry clean them, but I know they are fully washable and look great. Brett Johnson: We highly prefer

wash and wear uniforms. The pros of our wash and wear uniforms are: they are lightweight; they smell fresh after washing; and we save the time and money of dry cleaning. The cons of the dry cleaned uniforms are the opposite of the pros of the wash and wear uniforms. David Niemeyer: I like the wash and wear because they tend to be lighter. In Southern California march-

ing in a heavy hot uniform isn’t exactly comfortable for the performer. However, we still professionally dry clean anyway just so we can keep track of things. Obviously the life span of a wash and wear is far less than a dry clean only material, but I don’t anticipate keeping our uniforms for a long time anyway. Chris Miller: I prefer dry cleaning uniforms because of their longevity. John Abucewicz: Even though I

bought washable uniforms, I will still have them dry cleaned. I don’t believe teenagers could be trusted to take care of them. John Arata: We wear uniforms that require dry cleaning. I’m sure that wash and wear has obvious convenience and financial advantages to it. However, our uniforms maintain a very high quality look to them with the higher quality materials.

Andy Walters: Dry cleaning is better quality. The wash and wear would be cheaper, but over time would show wear as different families would make different choices with cleaning and detergent. With dry cleaning uniforms we are in control of what happens. Dr. W. David Spencer: We prefer a Dacron and wool blend. We dry clean all of the uniforms. Ryan Kelly: I prefer dry clean uniforms as it takes the responsibility away from students and parents and lets us ensure that all uniforms are cleaned on the exact same schedule to prevent fading or discoloration of individual uniforms. Joel Carlson: Dry Cleaning only uniforms are more durable and will last longer when treated properly. How has your program gone about finding footwear suppliers/manufacturers?

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John Abucewicz: We have found suppliers with good reputations through word of mouth. Dr. W. David Spencer: We have found footwear through catalogs, uniform reps, and free samples. We focus on budget and comfort. We use black patent leather and most of the shoes last four years.

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Ryan Kelly: We have consistently stayed with one manufacturer that a local company in town contacts and purchases from directly. Comfort combined with utility is important in footwear. The shoes we use enable our students to comfortably and successfully execute the marching style we teach. Students purchase new shoes upon joining the band, and replace them on their own as necessary due to change in size, damage, or anything else.

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David Niemeyer: We have local suppliers and on-line suppliers. Comfort and style are both very important to me. New students purchase footwear every summer, but we continue to wear the same footwear from year to year. Chris Miller: Comfort is most important when it comes to band footwear. First we went with the most popular one. Now I choose one for better grip on turf surfaces.

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Marc Mueller: A supplier who keeps things in stock is important. We use a supplier that always has them and gets them to us fast. Price is a real deal breaker as kids pay for their own shoes. Price and comfort is important; I don’t want to hear groans when I ask them to wear them.

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Joel Carlson: We have used the same footwear supplier since I was hired. Comfort and performance ability is key when it comes to footwear. Students purchase footwear once, unless they grow out of them or the shoe wears out.


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The Emil Richards Sounds of the Studio Series includes specialty mallets developed exclusively by Mike Balter in conjunction with Emil Richards. The Slap Mallets feature an elongated cushioned head producing a distinctive slap on marimba and vibes. The head is 3” tall by 1 7/8” wide with a 15 3/8” overall length, and a 5/16” natural birch shaft with a foam grip. Model ERSM retails for $60 per pair. The Crotale Mallets feature a ½” brass head on a very thin 7 ½” handle. When played on orchestra bells these mallets have a full, light tone. The mallets are also suitable for triangles. Model ERCR retails for $36 per pair. The Super Rub Mallets produce a rubbing sound effect on an array of instruments: snare drum; bass drum; timpani; gongs; cymbals; conga drums; and cow bells. The mallets are 8 ½” in overall length. Model ERSR retails for $24 a set. The Conga Mallets’ head has a flat surface producing a full solid tone. They feature a ½” maple shaft with a vinyl grip, and are 11” in overall length. Model ERCM retails for $58 per pair.

www.mikebalter.com

Row-Loff Productions 2009 Marching Library

Row-Loff has announced the publication of 13 new marching percussion features. This collection of marching features sports a wide variety of playing levels (easy to advanced) as well as a roster of composers, including: Julie Davila; Tony McCutchen; John R. Hearnes; Ian Smith; Lalo Davila; David England; Chris Brooks; Dustin Schletzer; David Herrick; and Chris Crockarell. The instrumentation includes standard battery percussion, timpani, bells, xylo and, in the more advanced literature, vibes and marimba as well as percussion toys that are found in most band rooms. All features come with a score and complete set of parts.

www.rowloff.com

Great Music for Wind Band from Meredith Music

Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI, the new book from Chad Nicholson, is a guide for concert planning and programming for both entry-level and experienced conductors. Brief incipits of prominent melodic themes are included along with cost, duration, availability, instrumentation, recordings, publishers, solos, and tips on programming. Music for this publication was selected by: Frank Battisti; Ray Cramer; James Croft; Thomas Dvorak; Richard Floyd; Michael

Haithcock; Gary Hill; Jerry Junkin; Craig Kirchhoff; Thomas Lee; Stephen Pratt; H. Robert Reynolds; Mark Scatterday; and Richard Strange.

www.meredithmusic.com

Evans’ Corps Clear Tenor Heads

The Corps Clear Tenor Heads from Evans are a 2-ply design with 6.5 mil top-ply and 10 mil bottom-ply. The extra thickness (16.5 mil total) compared to standard tenor heads (14-15 mil total) make the Corps Clear more durable. This added durability is said to not only prolong the life of the head but keep them in tune longer. Evans tenor heads are able to withstand high tension and the impact of heavy sticks and mallets.

www.evansdrumheads.com 58 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


We’ve got you covered! Field Level, from Row-Loff, is the ultimate band director’s guide to fielding the ultimate marching percussion section. This 212-page manual by Mike Lynch and Scott Brown will guide you through everything from tying cymbal knots to explaining the 4-mallet grip for keyboard players. Exercises and warm-ups are included, as well as a CD-Rom containing the music audio and printable parts for your percussion section.

>> NEW for Spring 2009!

<<

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EZ Blazin’Cadences >> A collection of 7 easy cadences for the Smokin’ Drum-Line! Comes with a score and a complete set of parts (including 2,3, & 4 Bass Drums). As well as a performance CD! Hear all of these and other hip grooves at www.rowloff.com!

“Foremost In Marching And Concert Percussion Literature” P.O. Box 292671

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Fax: 1-615-885-0370


NewProducts D’Addario Violin Fingerboard Appliqué

The D’Addario Violin Fingerboard Appliqué, was developed by noted music educator Peter Stoney. The Appliqué uses a tactile approach allowing the player to feel the touch point for the proper note and is available in two styles: an “Optic” version with the touch lines colored gold to provide an additional visual cue, and a solid black “Tactile” version that is nearly invisible on the fingerboard. The Appliqué installs quickly in just a few minutes and is easily removed without damaging the fingerboard. The Appliqué is available for violins in 4/4, 3/4, and 1/2 scale sizes.

www.daddariobowed.com

Zoom’s H4n Handheld Recorder

Zoom’s H4n offers built-in X/Y stereo condenser mics that allow variable recording patterns at either 90° or 120°. Audio quality is improved through its new digitally controlled, high-quality mic preamp and the ability to use internal and external mics simultaneously for four-channel recording. A large LCD screen, a more intuitive interface, and onboard

reference speaker will take the user’s recording experience to the next level. Zoom has incorporated several of the most popular features from its H2 to the H4n such as Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) compatible time stamp and track marker functions and its auto-record and pre-record features. The H4n records high-resolution audio at 24bit/96kHz on SD/SDHC media of up to 32GB and is USB 2.0. The H4n is also features a rubberized, shock resistant body for improved chassis protection, all-metal microphone design, and a built-in mounting joint for tripod and mic stand use. The H4n has a more user-friendly multi-track recording capability along with Hi-Z Inputs for recording guitar and bass, variable speed playback capability for “phrase training”, onboard studio effects, and over 50 guitar and bass amp modeling settings. In addition, a new stamina mode enables the H4n to operate for 10 hours continuously on a single set of AA batteries. The package includes a one GB SD card, wind screen, mic clip adapter, AC adapter, USB cable, protective case, and Cubase LE recording software. An optional remote control is also available.

www.samsontech.com

New Marching Shoe from The Blue Devils & Drillmasters

The Super Drillmaster marching shoe is the product of collaboration between Drillmasters and the drum corps with the most DCI World Championships, the Blue Devils. The Super Drillmasters incorporates all of the design requirements that maximize stability - super-wide outsole, Achilles tendon heel lock, and the patented Rolled-Heel. Super Drillmasters also features a unique Forefoot Hinge that facilitates the “toes-up” visual effect. Constructed with materials specified for long useful life and durability, the shoe is also low mass to encourage the fastest accelerations and decelerations of complex drills. Super Drillmasters will be available in limited quantities beginning August 1, 2009.

www.superdrillmasters.com

60 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009


Brought to you by EPN Travel Services

Pipe Down! To get your ensemble to perform a real pianissimo, have the group play a selected note or short phrase at a fortissimo level. Now have the students take the same intake of air, with the same energy and control, and play pianissimo! It really works wonders and focuses their attention on a level of sound that can be hard to obtain. Bill Ingram Mission Oak High School Tulare, Calif. Submit your PLAYING TIP online at www.sbomagazine.com or e-mail it to editor Eliahu Sussman: esussman@symphonypublishing.com. Win a special prize from EPN Travel, Inc. Winning Playing Tips will be published in School Band and Orchestra magazine.

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Four Winds Tours & Travel Creating lasting memories that students will cherish forever

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7  , 1- ° " School Band and Orchestra, May 2009 61


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62 School Band and Orchestra, May 2009

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Visit the Classifieds on the Web: www.SBOmagazine.com AdIndex COMPANY NAME

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Jazz Education Network

The

is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences. The Jazz Education Network was founded in the spirit of collaboration and excellence. Our goal is to be a vital resource for a constantly evolving art form that lives globally.

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SBO May 2009