Austin Daily Photo
Monday, October 02, 2006
  Marching band in the sun

This is the marching band of James Bowie High School, which was rehearsing one weekend near our local farmers' market. I hope they don't mind that I snapped them, but we had to stop and listen and watch for a bit, and they were fantastic.

It is difficult to explain to foreigners (like myself) what the whole American high school marching band phenomenon is all about, but basically there are at least a hundred people here (maybe two hundred?)learning their notes and their steps through endless repetitions. While we were there they were performing the same eight-seconds of their routine over and over until every single person was in just the right place at the right time playing the right note (or in the case of the dancers, carrying the right flag). When a band like this comes onto the field before a football game the effect is very powerful and inspiring for their team and the supporters. And they are all volunteer teenagers. Awesome.
Did you notice if their uniforms are made of wool? That's the way I remember band uniforms - and I remember the band members' misery when marching in the September/October sun.
I like this composition with a lot of negitive space above and the tall pole on the right.

I'll bet they didn't mind you taking the shot.
*Laugh* and this is why, I refused to join the marching band as my parents did. I only had to wear a over-large dress that I kept tripping over for choir. We didn't have to wear them in the sun.
We had a similar phenomenan in the sixties and seventies in the U.K. Our marching bands were mainly based in the mining communities of the North and Wales, oddly, they were called "jazz bands".
curly - are you talking about British brass bands? Like Grimethorpe Colliery, Hammond Sauce Works, Black Dyke? Cos if you are, I can assure you they were NEVER called "jazz bands" !

Or something else?

My father was somewhat of a brass band historian and what he didn;t know isn't worth knowing!

The mian difference between the American and British band is that the americans have reed / woodwind instruments such as piccolos as well as brass. NEVER seen in a British brass band. But maybe jazz bands.

American style marching bands caused a HUGE controversy for the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony. a contract was struck to bring some over. They (unlike brass bands) have no tradition whatsoever in Australia and it was quite perplexing to many what the hell they were doing there!
Wow, I am humbled that you would snap a picture of our band! Just so you know, we were on our way down to the San Antonio Astrodome to take part in the Texas State UIL competition. We placed 8th out of EVERY BAND IN TEXAS! Needless to say we were pumped.

To annie: We're lucky; our uniforms aren't made out of wool!
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A picture a day from the capital of slackerdom! (unless we had too many mango margaritas the night before). Always weird, sometimes wonderful... put on your flip-flops, grab a breakfast taco, and hop in the VW bus with us for a spin around town :)

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