The Works of the Marching Band


Xuying Moua, Staff Writer

I have always seen marching bands when I was younger, wondering how they are formed and coordinated. It always amazed me how they can move in intricate ways and know when and where to move as a whole. Now that I am older and in band, I can answer that very question. Furthermore, I received support from the talented band teacher, Mr. Hammerman, whom has taught me about the significance of marching band.

Marching band consists of many brass, woodwinds and percussion instruments. Each instrument is operated by a student. Songs are chosen based on the impact it can have on the audience; the songs need to make the band and audience want to move and dance. The first few songs are flashy and catches your attention, towards the middle of the performance the band slows down with calmer songs (but not too slow). The last song should leave people humming with a good impression and an earworm. Music isn’t the only thing that makes the marching band so eye catching; it consists of memorizing movements and formations.

The way students are placed and organized into their positions are based on the the instrument they play. There is no real reason for why we do a specific formation for a specific song, its only for the visual effect. The formation is not what makes it special, it is the team that works together and the multitasking skills used to create the routine. Scatter drills are the hardest movements based on Mr.hammerman’s opinion. The reasoning behind that is “its controlled chaos”. Another tricky movement are the smallest ones; you might have to count to twenty four but the spot you’re supposed to be standing at is a couple of inches away. An important part of marching in a band is the nonstop feet movements. One formation that Mr. Hammerman enjoys keeping as a tradition is the “N” formation for lasting impression. He also enjoys mixing up formations each time the band plays for halftime to keep the audience interested and entertained.

Each student is given a grid or graph that lays out the field with markings, showing the placement of each and every student with the assigned instrument. Students are told not to pay attention to others but themselves. When students are moving to their next spot, they are taught never to move in any other way but a straight line. This is very important because if they move in any other way, it could cause a domino effect of people tripping over each other and could ruin the whole visual effect. Frankly, It would be just straight up embarrassing.

Before the big day on the field, our very talented, honorable, and humorous band teacher, Mr. Hammerman pumps us up for the performance and give students words of courage. During an interview, Mr. Hammerman reveals some of the inspiring words he tells his students, one of them being: “give the audience a show,” also stating that his statements are “#WordsOfWisdom”.