For those of us who are a part of music education, this is marching band season (known as football season to the rest of American society). All across the country, students prepare a field show to the highest levels possible and compete against each other. As an educator this is a great time for me, because there are so many valuable, nonmusical lessons to teach to these students.
I’m not here to extol the virtues of marching band (there are plenty of great blogs about that already), or to tell you how I believe marching band is a sport. I’m here to show that marching band, and the pageantry that surrounds it, is one way we keep traditional music alive in our communities.
If “professional marching band” were a reality, then Drum Corps International would be the Major Leagues. These are groups of roughly 130 musicians, ages 15-21 mostly, who dedicate their entire summers to creating a show of such complexity and power that it can be intimidating. Many drum corps use selections from the classical music canon, reimagining the melodies and harmonies in to smaller more easily digestible packages for the average listener.
A great example from this most recent season is Carolina Crown, a drum corps based out of Fort Mill, SC. Their show was titled “For the Common Good,” and used Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man as thematic material that runs throughout the show. If you are familiar with Drum Corps as an activity, then enjoy watching one of the great shows of all time. If this is new to you, then I hope you can get a taste for what a great activity this is, and how it helps as an introduction to classical music for both the performers and the audience.