Sunday, September 25, 2016

Join Together With the Band

Photos by Evan Brandt

Members of all the marching bands that performed Saturday night at the Lancaster County Marching Band Coalition Showcase were invited on to the field to play with the Kutztown University Marching Band as a way to close out the evening.

Technology, the giver of wonderous gifts and the source of terrible frustration.

For those of you who follow this blog with any regularity, you know I am no technical wizard;
Technology gave me a face like this, but

Pottstown sophomore Terrell Taylor-Williams

insists he just doesn't believe in smiling.
plodding my way through whatever silicon valley has thought up to see if it poses any value to the cause of local news.

So I confess that there are surely times I fail to switch the right widget, or override the under-code.

But surely you will agree that when you use the nifty live video function called Periscope, and it saves on your wonderous company-issued iPhone every single video you shoot, except one, that it should be chalked up not to the technological ineptness of the user, high though it may be, but to the technology's own fickle, self-destructive desire to make the user want to smash the phone on the ground and jump up and down on it until it is in tiny little i-Pieces.

However, as an adult and parent of a teenager, you've come to learn (after several lectures) that tantrums like that are unbecoming and set a bad example.
Pottstown High School Marching Band.

So, you move on.

Besides, as you will see below, I just used the video from the Pottstown Bands YouTube channel, so I should stop complaining....

Now I must also confess that technology can be wonderful.

Because while technology denied me a permanent recording of the Pottstown High School Marching Band, which my wife and I had driven 50.4 miles at somewhat unsafe speeds to see, it did provide two recordings of Pottsgrove High School's marching band, thanks to the technical prowess of one Fred Remelius.

Owen J. Roberts High School Marching Band.
A dedicated band dad three-times over, he saw my video experiments on Facebook and through that platform we arranged for him to send YouTube links to Pottsgrove's performance, which was going on miles away at the Boyertown Cavalcade of Bands, also happening on the same night.  Those two videos are posted below as well.

So there you have it.

Technology, a double-edged sword.

While we have attended and enjoyed the Boyertown Cavalcade in the past, I must say we particularly enjoy a
The big Duck, Duck, Goose circle.
particular aspect of the Lancaster show -- no scoring.

The Lancaster audience and the bands, which also included Owen J. Roberts, seem much more relaxed and much more supportive and enthusiastic of each other as a result.

I can be hard to cheer with true enthusiasm for a competitor, and applying the whole "win-lose" dynamic to something as subjective as music seems, in my mind, to diminish music itself.

Perhaps the first best example of this sense of camaraderie at the Lancaster show was a phenomenon I have never seen at a Cavalcade of Bands show, and doubt I ever would. During the intermission, the bands all mingled on the field and, as it by osmosis, organized themselves into a giant circle and began to play, of all things, "Duck, Duck, Goose."
Pottstown's Isaiah Williams

as the goose.
Action shot! After Isaiah chose a new goose.

So ironically enough, it would seem the absence of scoring turned the whole
thing into a quasi-athletic event.

Not only was there running around in a circle, but there was also some kind of weird ju-jitsu kind of activity that I am quite obviously just too old to understand.

I have no idea what the hell this is ....
But the kids seemed to have fun.

The other excellent example of camaraderie is how the Kutztown University Band, which closed the show this year and last, invites members from all the bands to join them in a big final number.

Its very obvious, as you will see in the video below, that everyone is having great fun, and the audience has fun and joins in.

Isn't that what music is supposed to be about?

Enjoy the Tweets and videos (those that saved anyway) below:

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