Missed You Tube Moments at the Indiana State Fair
Dave, Kent, Kent’s friend Susan and I sweated it out in the stands so we could watch the Indiana State Fair band competition.
It was the year of random themes, bizarre sets, and weak color guard (flag corps) choreography (in Dave’s scoring system, when flag corps work turns into interpretive dance, three points are automatically deducted. If a band has a male in their color guard, they receive an automatic bonus point). I have some ideas about why marching bands have adopted Broadway musical trappings. Most of my theories involve band directors having “Waiting for Guffman” moments. I won’t go into any of them here.
What I will give you is a sampling of the international flavor of the evening:
One band chose to memorialize the Korean War with a medley of Korean folk tunes and an army chopper painted on the back drop. The theme was “never forget,” but are Korean folk songs supposed to jog my memory?
The Anderson Highlanders took top honors (from the “official” judges-I think our pick was Fountain City) with a Christian wedding theme complete with wood panels painted to look like stained glass church windows (a cross in the middle of each one) and a minister standing on an altar performing a marriage between two students (pretend I hope, or that band director will have some explaining to do).
Strangely, none of the music was traditionally marriage related as far as I could tell (was it Scottish wedding music?). The band sounded and looked good (I’m crazy about kilts), but they lost me with the unnecessary drama. Are band directors being forced to collaborate with their schools’ theater departments to keep funding stable? And call me paranoid, but considering the marriage amendment mess Indiana is working on, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t wonder whether or not there was some not too covert “traditional marriage” messaging happening. Whatever, they convinced the judges.
Speaking of drama, what could be more dramatic than a holocaust themed marching band performance? No lie. Southmont High School (Crawfordsville) chose the persecution of the Jews as their theme for this year’s performance. The flag corps members were dressed as concentration camp prisoners. A teenage narrator recounted all of the ways Jewish people have been victimized for millennia.
The set was designed to look like prison walls complete with an “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign and an incineration chamber with a stack that started smoking(!) when the narrator discussed “the final solution.” For the record, there’s no other sound like the thud of a thousand jaws hitting hollow aluminum bleachers. The script went on to describe the founding of the new nation of Israel and ended like a Zionist pep rally. Is Mel Brooks workshopping a new idea for a movie or something? I’m praying all of this will show up on You Tube. I was so sorry not to have a video camera.