History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Irondale Marching Knights no fairy tale fantasy!

Photo from Irondale Bands website
"Fairy tales enchant those lucky children whose parents still read to them." So wrote Roger Ebert as part of his review of the 2005 movie "The Brothers Grimm."
Fairy tales are enchanting for followers of the Irondale marching band of Mounds View. The Brothers Grimm give the theme for the current spectacular show of this inspired group of young people. Morris is blessed having this group visit to practice and perform each summer. The Friday night show isn't totally formal. The audience gets to learn how the band steadily polishes its performance.
The annual show is free to the public. What a gem of an entertainment treat during the otherwise rather slow summer months. Making the show/demonstration even more special is that it's at Big Cat Stadium. The surroundings, including our two towering wind turbines, provide a spectacular backdrop. The promotion in the week before seems to consist of nothing but posted bills around town. The turnout ought to be bigger. But of course it's July. The 2013 performance was on Friday, July 26.
This fall, people will be coming to Big Cat to consume football. I'm not sure I'll be there this year. Any reasoned consideration of the sport of football would lead one to conclude it should be banned for youth. Football will get along without me fine. However, I believe I'm the only person who has posted online photo albums (viewable via the slide show format) of Tiger football in each of the last three years. I would hope this service has been deemed valuable.
You will find some music educators who pooh-pooh marching band. Such sticks in the mud are not uncommon in academia. From a pure musical standpoint, you might argue that your typical marching band doesn't afford that much musical enrichment. Their repertoire might not go much beyond one tune that they really polish. The rewards for the kids go far beyond that, though. The discipline, organization and camaraderie are big rewards. It's a process of polishing a product - a model for what the kids will do as adults.
Last year I observed that the Irondale Marching Knights played music that was too "modern" for my musical tastes. I was quick to add that my tastes shouldn't be considered as a model for the norm. This year we heard a nice blend of the modern stuff and a show-ending performance of the totally traditional. The kids can do the traditional stuff after all! I shouldn't be surprised.
I will emphasize again how much more healthy this activity seems than sports and sports camps. I wonder if Morris Area High could be inspired to develop a program like this, not "your father's marching band" but an avant garde halftime show band.
If anyone from Irondale is reading this, I'd like to suggest you try some tunes associated with the Bill Chase band of the 1970s. I have heard drum and bugle corps versions of three of those tunes. The one that seems especially well-suited to a band performance is "Handbags and Gladrags." The other two are "Open Up Wide" (technically very difficult) and "Get It On" (Chase's greatest hit). A friend and I attended a Chase band reunion concert in St. Paul in 2007. It was on the same night the bridge fell into the Mississippi River. We had to call home to tell everyone we were safe. Sheesh, I get to the Twin Cities about once every ten years, and then I go on the same night as this.
The Marching Knights of Irondale High School totally live up to their billing. They pride themselves on being recognized as a progressive and innovative organization. To be precise, they call themselves "a competitive field show band." There are over 120 members. They represent Mounds View Independent School District #621, serving the communities of Arden Hills, Mounds View, New Brighton and Shoreview.
Let's quote from a handout we received at Big Cat: "The Marching Knights strive for excellence in music and marching through hard work, dedication and the pursuit of quality performance. This outstanding competitive performance group also provides opportunities for members to develop leadership, teamwork, interpersonal growth, goal-setting, time management and self-discipline."
The Marching Knights compete in Minnesota, Wisconsin and in the Super Regional in St. Louis MO where last year's show, "Villains, Scoundrels and Bad Guys," took 15th out of 51 bands.
Each summer the band "gets out of town" for a week to focus on learning and refining the competitive field show that will be presented in the fall. They "get out of town" to Morris! Maybe some of these youth can get interested in attending the U of M-Morris.
"This is our third summer in Morris," the handout read, "and we are thrilled by the reception we have received both from the college and the community at large."
Let's go for year #4 next summer!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

No comments:

Post a Comment