By Patrick Roszell
Alfred Marching Band Writer
Some purists in the band world just rolled their eyes so far back in their heads that we heard a collective thud. A few of my former teachers would argue that the only place for “The Classics” are symphony hall or in the symphonic band/wind ensemble literature. However, a point made to me many times by my first arranging and composition teacher, who incidentally, was a classically trained oboist with degrees from the Eastman School of Music, was that more people see marching bands in the course of their lives than they will ever see a symphony orchestra, a wind ensemble or a symphonic band.
We live in a culture that loves football! Both of my alma maters, the Jacksonville State University Marching Southerners and the Troy University Sound of the South, have very fine marching programs. Each group has membership well over 300 and both perform for hundreds of thousands of people each fall either at football games or at marching band contests as the exhibition band. If one of these ensembles played Carmina Burana (both have) or A New World Symphony by Dvořák, how many people would hear these spectacular pieces for the first time and realize they like something they had never heard before?
If we are to truly educate our audience as well as entertain them, doesn’t classical music make sense for the marching field?