Marching Band Season

Furman Football

As my friend Duck Hunter pointed out on his blog, not only is it football season, but it’s also marching band season. The Furman Band has really been sounding good the last several years, and this year continues this trend.

Of course, we’ve taken more interest in the band the past several years since the son and daughter of our friends Alan and Mary have been in the band. Joshua graduated last year, but Caitlin still has a couple of years to go. So, we’ve been following the band’s repertoire closer than usual.

One trend has been to have the entire band do a dance routine in the middle of a particularly popular song. This year it’s Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson, as played by Alien Ant Farm. To be honest, I was very confused when I first heard it because it starts with the theme from James Bond. Regardless, here’s Alan’s recording of it on YouTube..

The first year they started this it was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, and the year before that it was “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. Both were huge crowd pleasers.

But more than the big halftime pieces, I enjoy the tags – the short stand music played in bursts between playes, etc. I’ve been impressed with Jay Bocook’s selection of music, including “Mars” by Gustav Holtz from The Planets, “Dies Irae” from Verdi’s Requiem, and “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff.

One of my good friends on Facebook commented that he believed that Verdi rolled in his grave each time Dies Irae was played at a football game. I beg to differ. Verdi was all about spectacle, and his operas bear that out. The Requiem itself was written more as a concert piece than for a sacred worship. I think Verdi would be just fine with his music used in the context the modern spectacle of football.

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Of course, every time I hear that bit I have to sing along, much to Laura’s dismay. Same goes for O Fortuna. These tags only last a few seconds, but I keep going, again much to Laura’s dismay. It’s perhaps a good thing that Mars doesn’t have lyrics.

I wonder what other bits from classical repertoire might work. It’s got to be something powerful and short. Other Dies Iraes from other requiems might work – Berlioz, and Mozart come time mind. I’m sure there are others that would work as well.

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Comment (1)

  1. ken Cothran

    They use a tag from Stravinsky’s Firebird. I can see some Wagner being a possibility. Florida A&M used the Die Meistinger Prelude and Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral (Lohengrin), but that band was suspended for … well, it sounded really good in the day. I’ve always thought that the opening of Bruckner’s Te Deum could do serious structural damage to a stadium’s structural integrity. The JS Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor could be used, particularly if the theme from the movie Rollerball was the version. Lots more possibilities. Raiding old Drum Corps recordings of Phantom Regiment and other groups is good.


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