The following is a re-post from August 23, 2013
We finally pried the front ensemble away from the boathouse yesterday afternoon. It wasn't easy to get them to abandon their beachfront property in favor of the hard trodden dusty practice field. Let's just say that promises were made.
Note to Cristie: Avery has the Swiss bank accounts all set up. You can wire funds immediately.
Now the entire band is together on the field for the first time. The sound, while still primitive, is amazing.
I'm a former brass player, so I naturally appreciate a good metallic chord that you can hear with your teeth. Makes my heart sing and my gooses bump. And most of your kids all play in the winds, so you're right there with me in appreciating that sound. But for those who don't understand the point of the non-marching kids who stand around beating stuff, let me fill you in on the purpose of the front ensemble.
They're the mood setters, the undertones, they make all the sounds your marching kids can't make. And while all the field hoofers are out learning to point their toes in sync and make it to their next dot without tripping over a trombone, the front ensemble spends their time fine tuning perfection. They've got incredibly talented pianists, funky bass guitars, a master of tympani, techy kids who trigger samples, and a whole bunch of mallet keyboards who play chords and complex rolls which blur the eye. And they're choreographed. Watch those marimba players- their chops all match, not just timing but stick heights. There's a lot of work that goes into all that standing around.
And they juggle flaming chainsaws too.
The winds and battery sound great but it takes the front ensemble to get that Dolby surround sound and the chills down your spine. They complete the group.
So this season, after you've watched your student on the field a few times, spend one performance watching the kids along the front sideline. That's a whole 'nother show and well worth the time.