For years the Southmoreland Marching Band has captured the imaginations of its audience during halftime at football games. The performances often can inspire a whole stadium full of people. But tit appears that this year it is the students on the field who have inspired the show.
When an audience sees a band put a show on the field, they may not know how much work goes into a short eight-minute performance. Mr. Shawn Harris, band director, and the rest of the staff start thinking about the next season sometime during November or December. The official planning process usually begins in January. The staff meets to offer ideas for the next theme. Once they start working on a theme, they begin looking at music selections which can be used for each possible theme. Others work on more visual aspects of the show such as drill, the formations created by the band, and things such as backdrops or props that are used.
This year’s theme “I Am” is meant to be a hopeful piece intended to show that throughout life you may experience hard times, but when you come out of it, these hardships expose a person’s true colors.
“There’s so much turmoil in the world,” said Ms. Bethany Hutira, color guard instructor. “We wanted the students who would perform the show and the people who would watch it to feel uplifted.”
In the beginning of the show, the color guard begins in all black outfits; as the show continues they pull away bits of their uniform to reveal bright colors. “Each color is a facet of a personality,” said Ms. Hutira, who chose the costumes “to show who one truly is rather than simply being just like everyone else.”
The marching band season is an intense year-long experience. For the students the year begins in April with auditions, but for present members there is the yearly band trip in March. The real season begins in June and lasts until May. There is a temporary break during January and February for the band, but due to the band traveling to Florida this year, they will begin work again in February.
Past years the band has done themes such as “Africa,” or “Among Starry Skies,” but this year theme has a much deeper meaning.
“The show was influenced by the students,” said Mr. Harris. “Each of them brings a totally unique personality to the group and I wanted that to be the highlight. To know who you are is always good enough.”