What Do Football Season and Marching Band Have in Common?
Football has long been a great fall sport played in the fall here in the United States. There has always been much interest in the high school and college sport programs in full swing with ball practices and scheduled games. Professional football games on television excite fans with information all about the players, the teams, the statistics and the big games happening in the early part of the new year.
Instrumental music programs become very busy with marching bands playing at half-time presenting spectacular music presentations in the time period between the second and the third quarters of the game. The practices, work, training and preparation for all these activities are in full swing from the middle of the summer through late fall.
The marching band instrumentation is generally comprised of many bandsmen and bandswomen playing musical instruments and marching versions of the traditional instruments from the brass, woodwind, and percussion families of instruments, including flutes/piccolos, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, mellophones, baritone horns, euphoniums, sousaphones. The percussion or drum sections incorporate many snare drums, bass drums and marching versions of tympani, and bells. The percussion section is prepared with special cadences and specially composed parts that accompany the band during marching. The weight of the instruments is generally kept to 40 lbs and under. The marching versions of brass are made so the bells face forward to help project sound in the outdoors environment and through large plexiglass front press boxes.
A playing field of 120 yards by 53.3 yards
The marching styles of these musical ensembles who performed in parades and football half-time shows, can vary accordingly depending on the size of the group and the style of the music selections chosen. A playing field of 120 yards by 53.3 yards provides ample room for creation of great spectacular shows. Corp style marching includes intricate precision marching drills with much more precise movement execution. The military style uses straight lines. Swing style can often employ a step that is a thigh high 90 degrees. The step can vary with the thigh coming up 45 to a full 90 degrees during marching or a more relaxed stride 6 to 5 as the emphasis is more concert-like, and for an ensemble orienting in front of the stands.
The music selection is wide and numerous with most of the classic marches written between the 1850s through 1940s by composers from all over the world. John Philip Sousa who lived from 1854 until 1932, served in the US armed forces and wrote some 136 marches. Today, a wide range of music is used in shows from movies, musicals, classical symphonies, TV shows, ethnic, pop, jazz and other genre.