Behind the Scenes of the Kennesaw Mountain Marching Band

Behind the Scenes of the Kennesaw Mountain Marching Band

The Kennesaw Mountain Marching band is wrapping up its 2023 season on a great note after placing 7th out of 32 bands at the ETSU BOA Regional. The BOA regionals are held at various stadiums around the U.S. Bands from states near the stadium may sign up for a spot. Each band is judged on their music performance, marching technique, and the general effect of their show. Each category is given a rating of points which are used to rank the bands.

Many have heard of the marching band’s outstanding abilities and long practice times, but few know what really goes into preparing for these competitions. This article will look into the behind-the-scenes of our marching band.

The band includes great wind musicians, amazing percussionists, and color guard members. A marching band is typically made up of three instrumental groups: woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Woodwinds, like flute, clarinet, and saxophone, use air to make reeds or tubes in their instrument vibrate, producing sound. Brass instruments like trumpet, mellophone, baritone, and sousaphone. Mellophones project their sound towards an audience and are usually played by French horn players. Other instruments that are involved are the pit percussion instruments like marimba, vibraphone, synthesizer, and xylophone. Marimbas are similar to xylophones but are usually larger and made of wood, while vibraphones are smaller and made of metal. These instruments are usually located at the front of the field and do not march around the field but play an important role. They play sound effects and enhance the music. The other percussion instruments are tenors, snares, and bass drums, which are marched on the field.

The marching band begins their season with practices during July. Marching technique is introduced to first-year marchers and reviewed for returning ones. I know what you’re thinking, who practices during the summer? Don’t worry, these practices are only during the weekdays for 2 weeks and are filled with many fun activities. The activities include a talent show, Simon Says, The Olympics, and spirit dress-up days. Although quite fun and a great way to make friends, the band also works very hard during these 2 weeks. We asked Meilani, a member of the pit percussion, what her favorite part of marching band was. She said, “Anytime when we have July camp because I’m always so happy to show up and see my friends.”

Once school begins, the marching band usually has practice from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursday nights. During these practices, the band learns their music and marching. If you’ve ever seen the marching band perform, you may have seen the band form different shapes on the field. How do they do that without running into each other? Well, the secret to this is called “Sets,” plots of a football field marked with the formations made by the members. These sets are carefully created by an expert who shows each member what to do. Through a show, a member will march to each of the different Sets.

The band also rehearses on a few Saturdays out of the year from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. What?! A 12-hour practice?! Don’t worry, these rehearsals aren’t actually 12 hours. We get a few breaks during the day and an hour each for lunch and dinner. These rehearsals might get a bit tiring, but they are the secret to how great our marching band is! With a full day to focus on marching band and performing the band’s progress grows exponentially.

One great thing about being in a marching band is that members get free entrance to every football game because they are playing. The band plays fun stand tunes like “Seven Nation Army” and “Go Mighty Mustangs” as well as tunes with the cheerleaders. They also perform at halftime with their marching band show as it progresses. After working hard at practice all week these football games are a nice way to celebrate being a Mustang and making great music.

Marching Band is a great activity if you want to make lots of friends, get better at an instrument or dancing and guard work, or have the time of your life performing. Many people who have done marching band rave about the experience. We asked several senior members why they stayed in the band.

Kennedi Williams said “I saw the benefits everyone gained from it, and everyone had so much good to say about it… I got everything I expected/wanted, plus more… I’ve never been around so many people I love before. I’ve found my second home.”

Another senior, Eric Eady, said “It’s a family and the thrill of performing.”

If you’re interested in participating in the marching bands next 2024 season as an instrument player, or a color guard member, reach out to one of your friends in band/color guard or email the band directors at [email protected].

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