Go on The Journey with the Webster Marching Band this Saturday

2 Oct

 

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Your Webster Marching Band will be taking everyone on a spectacular “Journey” this weekend when these amazing musicians and dancers present their annual Autumn Fanfare field show and competition on Saturday Oct. 5.

band 2Seven bands from around the Rochester area will compete, including our very own Pride of Webster. Each school prepares a different, elaborate show, complete with huge set pieces. Sometimes band members will even act out part of the story being told. Webster calls their show this year “The Journey.”

The Pride of Webster Marching Band has been hosting this show for 34 years. Last year was was the first time I ‘d actually attended. I was blown away. Allow me to quote some of my thoughts from that evening:

It is an impressive sight. Almost 70 smartly-dressed kids moving in sync like a well-drilled Army unit, at the same time PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT. People who pride themselves on being able to walk and chew gum at the same time have got nothing on these kids.

And at Saturday night’s event, we got to enjoy the artistry of six other marching bands as well, from Leroy, Hilton, Orchard Park, Medina, East Irondequoit and Victor,  who together provided 90 minutes of music, pageantry and spectacle.

As I watched and snapped about a thousand photos, these are some of the thoughts I came away with:

* These bands don’t just get out there, walk around and play music. The shows are full musical productions, complete with elaborate set pieces (check out Stonehenge in one of my photos) and detailed story lines (one school even had several performers act out part of the story). The music is rich, and usually presented in a series of movements, guiding spectators through the story’s intricacies.

* Every performance by every school is completely different. One school hid behind their set pieces at the beginning of the show, so it looked like no one was on the field. Another put down their instruments a few times for some coordinated dance moves. There was a huge moon, geometric shapes, and yes, even Stonehenge.

* The shows are changed every year, which means a new story, new music, new set pieces, new choreography, and often new costumes and flags for the color guard.

* Think marching bands are all trumpets and drums? Webster’s 2018 production, “Heart Strings: Tugged and Torn” features violins, a stand-up electric bass and two flute soloists.

* Band parents are as invested in these competitions as much as — or even more than — any sports parent. They are cheerleaders, critics, coaches, and analysts. They are the roadies, helping set up the complicated sets and running out on the field after the final note to break everything down and move it out as quickly as possible. And if you’re school is hosting an event like this, if you’re not a roadie you’re still working hard selling tickets, running the raffle, manning food booths, or selling merchandise.

* And oh, by the way, while you’re competing, not only do you have to remember all your music, where to walk without running into anyone, and how to toss that heavy flag without dropping it, you have to do all of that while a judge is walking through the ranks, sometimes just feet away from you, watching you, JUDGING you, and communicating his observations with the head judge at the sideline. Talk about pressure.

I’m looking forward to going on The Journey again this year with our marching band, and I encourage everyone else to do so as well.

The show begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday night Oct. 5 at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. (Gates open at 4:30 p.m.) Tickets are $7 in advance at Hegedorn’s, $9 at the gate. For more information, visit www.webstermarchingband.org.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s show.

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