The start of the school year means many things, school shopping, new classes. To many students it also means that it’s marching band season.
The theme for this year’s season is The Wild, Wild West. Each year the theme for the show is different. Craig Aune, one of the band teachers says that they usually have 2-4 different ideas and choose one that would work best with the current band’s strengths and weaknesses. Other factors come into play as well, “We try to go the exact opposite of whatever we did last year, so it’s unpredictable.”
Music within the show obviously matches the theme. For deciding what style of music to use Deron Jimmerson says, “We talked a lot because there’s a lot of different directions you could go, we could do more of a cowboy show, you could go kind of country western, but we really wanted it to be the kind of classic movie soundtrack concept.”
Song lineup for this year’s show is two themes from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, another theme from The Magnificent Seven, the classic folk song Shenandoah, Hoedown composed by Aaron Copland, and the theme from Silverado.
“I think the kids absolutely love what they’re playing and are exposed to some westerns that they might not have known about,” commented Aune.
As memorizing music and moving in formations is no easy task, the band teachers are pleased with the rate at which things are progressing. They think that the band is performing about two-thirds of the show right now. In fact Aune adds, “Well I’ll be honest, based on what we’re seeing right now and what I’m hearing right now it could be really really really good. I would say we’re a little bit ahead of what we’re presenting right now compared to maybe last year or the year before.”
Even though there are marching band competitions, that isn’t their focus. According to the band instructors the only competition that is truly important is State, where bands are rated on numbers, Division 1 being the best rating. At State, the band doesn’t compete against other bands.
“We’ve had 30 years in a row of receiving Division 1 ratings. That’s kind of our emphasis,” Aune mentions, later saying, “We don’t care about trophies and we don’t care about second place, it just doesn’t matter so much. But at State contest we’re performing against a standard not against other bands.”
Prairie does host it’s own competition though, Bands Across the Prairie. It will take place on Saturday September 30th this year and 21 bands from all over the state will be performing.
See Prairie High School Marching Band perform their show, The Wild, Wild West at Prairie during every home football game and during Bands Across the Prairie.