Published: Nov 06, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Nov 06, 2012 03:35 PM
While competitive marching band season drew to a close with last weekends Cary Band Day, Green Hope High School director of bands Brian Myers has no plans to slow down.
In fact, he and his 136 band students have lofty goals: Now in their first year as part of Bands of America, they hope to participate in nationals in two years and make a strong showing.
Until that time, they will not only march at football games but also enter five or six competitions each fall.
At a recent regional event in Towson, Md., Green Hope grabbed fourth place in the finals. Now in his sixth year directing Green Hope, Myers hopes the high placement at regionals was only the beginning for his band. Q: Why did you and the band decide to join Bands of America?
We wanted the national recognition; we wanted to put our name out there. Many more-established bands in our area have been in BOA for a number of years; we want to take our program to the next level. I want the kids to experience new things, broaden their horizons and raise the quality of our performance. Q: Does raising the quality mean the need for more fundraising?
We design our budget around our priorities; the costs to the students remain consistent. We have great community support this year. We have had lots of donations and sponsorships. Capital fundraising means that we can get more instruments, and we are raising money for new uniforms for next year. Q: What does it mean for a band program to up its game?
As an activity, marching band is always evolving. Unlike athletics, which are very consistent, marching band has to continually change.
Last year, we attended grand nationals in Indianapolis, and we all realized that that was what we wanted to do.
This year, weve made an effort to be more contemporary visually, musically and through sounds. As we do that, we want to remain true to what were good at. Q: How do you plan for the marching season and create a contemporary program?
After the last competition of last year, we started planning. The staff and I start throwing out ideas: We want to choose a theme that kids will relate to and enjoy but also something that the audience relates to, whether thats parents or football players.
Lastly, we want to appeal to the judges. It is a long process with a lot of trial and error.
This year, we created The Wrath of Darkened Wings. It is a reverse of the tried-and-true good and evil story. In the end, evil overcomes good; the Black Queen overcomes the White Queen. We do reference Black Swan and weave in some music from Swan Lake.
Our brass instructor, Jesse Rackley, was part of the design team. We brought in a program coordinator, Chris Turner, who did a storyboard for us. The color guard fit their choreography into the story, and the percussion writers wove in sound effects.
In the past, we have hired people who create shows for a living. This year, we wrote the show. Its been cool for us; its also cool for the kids. We wrote it, we are teaching it, they are performing it. Q: How do you feel about this season overall?
Im very impressed with the students. This has been a tough season; the first competition was rained out. But our goal remained consistent: to make finals at Towson. When we did, and we came in fourth place, it was the feather in our caps. Their level of professionalism and performance is better than before. Making the top five is a big tribute to their hard work.