Marching Bands of Tomorrow
by Stan Michalski
The establishment of a Marching Show Band requires decisive answers to specific questions in order to provide the necessary guidelines and impetus for doing so.
Will the Marching Show Band be established solely for the purpose of competing with others bands? If so:
a. Will other competing bands be of the same type in terms of marching and musical presentations?
b. Will other competing bands be of the same size and instrumentation?
c. Will other competing bands have instructional staffs that are equal in number and training?
What organization, area, school, university, country, etc., will the Marching Show Band represent?
What type of music will the band perform and for what purposes and events?
Will funding for instructional and administrative staff, instruments, facilities, equipment and travel be available to support the goals and aspirations of the proposed organization?
In establishing a Marching Show Band, the area of leadership is of utmost importance. Leadership areas involve personnel management, music selection, performance goals, rehearsal schedules, performance venues, long range planning for equipment usage, replacement and repairs, instrument, uniform and music storage areas, financial administration, music libraries, auxiliary units and, of course, financial support. Without proper leadership to address and actuate the above concerns, any desire to establish a Marching Show Band will be for naught.
Is the newly established organization being developed solely for the purpose of competition? Is the organization being established to represent a particular school, community or university? Is the organization being established for the purpose of performing a specific genre of music? When the purpose of a newly established organization is clearly
delineated, the human elements of pride, desire, motivation and hard work will be required to achieve a semblance of success. Every person who is involved in the process must be committed to work cohesively toward a common goal, which, inevitably, requires an enormous amount of time and commitment from each participant. Depending on the performance venue, competition guidelines can be based upon local, regional, national or international standards. This, in turn, places a burdensome responsibility on all members of an organization to plan, rehearse and perform to achieve recognition based upon a variety of criteria developed by sponsors of a particular festival or competition.
It is extremely important to me as an educator that we maintain our musical and cultural heritage – via music, language, dress, food, customs and cultural pride. When attempting to establish a Marching Show Band, this should be high on the list of criteria for doing so. Cultural awareness instills a sense of pride, purpose and desire to excel. To set aside “cultural heritage” in the form of musical presentations for the sake of being “just like everyone else” is a false reason for the existence of any musical organization.
When deliberating the reasons for the establishment of a Marching Show Band, consideration must be given to the community of leaders, participants and supporters in order to garner financial, personal and musical endorsement. A school community, college community or a community at-large will usually patronize an organization if the performance criteria and goals for development are directed to student/participant needs. Musical organizations that are prone to solely effecting the goals of a particular director or institution without due concern for the musical welfare of the participants are, for the most part, unproductive and musically ineffective.